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Historical Society 


















Treasurer CHARLES G. NORTH. 


Lewis J. Bennett, 
Wilson S. Bissell, 
Albert H. Briggs, 
Joseph P. Dudley, 
Charles W. Goodyear, 
George S. Hazard, 
Henry W. Hill, 
Andrew Langdon, 
J. N. Larned, 
J. J. Mc Williams, 

George B. Mathews, 
Charles J. North, 
G. Barrett Rich, 
Henry A. Richmond, 
Frank H. Severance, 
George Alfred Stringer, 
James Sweeney, 
George W. Town send, 
William C. Warren, 
Charles R. Wilson. 

The Mayor of Buffalo, the Corporation Counsel, the Comptroller, 
Superintendent of Education, President of the Board of Park Com- 
missioners, and President of the Common Council, are also ex-ofiicio 
members of the Board of Managers of the Buffalo Historical Society. 


THE greater part of the contents of the present volume, 
the fifth in the Publication Series of the Buffalo 
Historical Society, falls naturally into three classes : 

I. Papers relating to the War of 1812 on the Niagara. 

II. Papers relating to Buffalo harbor, and early trade 
and travel on the Lakes. 

III. Papers relating to comparatively recent events in 
Buffalo and vicinity — some of the more important episodes 
in the local "history of our own times." 

In the group of papers and documents relating to the 
War of 1812, the Society has been especially fortunate in 
securing for publication the order-book and some of the cor- 
respondence of Mai. -Gen. Amos Hall. For the use of this 
material special acknowledgment js due to Gen. Hall's grand- 
daughter, Airs. Samuel Johnson of Dowagiac, Mich. The 
Hall MSS. contain details of the militia service on the Niag- 
ara, and especially of the camp on Eleven-Mile Creek, other- 
wise Williamsville, not elsewhere to be found. They well 
show, too, some of the difficulties encountered in supplying 
the commonest needs of the troops. The correspondence of 
Lt. Patrick McDonogh, for the use of which the Society is 
indebted to Miss Isabel O'Reilly, Overbrook, Pa. ; the letters 
of Jonas Harrison, and the reminiscences of Archer Gallo- 
way, Gen. Asa Warren and William A. Bird, are all contri- 
butions of worth to the records of the War of 181 2. 


The historical writings of Judge Samuel Wilkesoii are 
in this volume brought together for the first time. While 
not local in a restricted sense, they relate to a region whose 
history is closely linked with that of Western Xew York and 
the Lakes, and they deal with a most important period, con- 
cerning which there are few chronicles by contemporary 
hands, and probably none which in fidelity to fact and gra- 
phic depiction of exciting episode or romantic conditions, , 
surpass in value the record here preserved. Judge Wilke- 
son's experience in the early lake and river trade forms a 
fitting prelude to his own account of the first construction 
of the harbor of Buffalo. That subject is continued and 
practically completed to date, by the very valuable history 
of harbor construction and improvement at Buffalo by the 
United States Government, written for this volume by Maj. 
Thomas W. Symons, U. S. A., engineer in charge, and Mr. 
John C. Ouintus. 

The subject of early lake trade, touched upon by Judge 
Wilkeson, is most entertainingly continued in the reminis- 
cences of Capts. James Sloan and Augustus Walker. These 
are substantial contributions to the history of a phase of 
American development which should receive all possible 
illumination, and to which this Society hopes to make further 
contributions in following volumes. Capt. James Sloan, it 
may be recalled, was a veteran of the War of 1812, one of 
the leading spirits jn the capture of the Caledonia and 
Adams in the autumn of 1S12. The historian Lossing 
visited him at his I .lack Rock home, in i860, and heard 
from his own lips the story of that enterprise. 


Belonging to the history of recent years, but worthy of 

the authoritative record here made of it, is the story of the 
passage of the Niagara Reservation Act in 1885, written by 
the man best qualified to tell it, the Hon. Thomas V. Welch, 
superintendent of the Niagara Reservation from its estab- 
lishment. Of perhaps narrower interest, but forming chap- 
ters of no slight importance in the history of Buffalo, is the 
narrative of the evolution of the city's Public Library, told 
by one whose name will always be gratefully associated with 
its work and growth prior to 1897 — ^ r - J- ^- Lamed; and, 
for the? later years, by Supt. Henry L. Elmendorf, who rep- 
resents and is best qualified to write of the free library move- 
ment of 1897, an( l th e subsequent development of an institu- 
tion which has become notable among the free circulating 
libraries of America. 

The other papers and miscellaneous material in the vol- 
ume have all, it is hoped, sufficient worth to warrant publi- 
cation. The collection has at least the merit of offering to 
the student of the history of our region a considerable body 
of information drawn from contemporary but heretofore 
imprinted manuscripts. The Society hopes to follow it soon 
with another volume, for which it has already secured some 
manuscripts of exceptional value. 

The literal publication of documents in. many cases 
has resulted in the misspelling of proper names. These, 
and such other errors as have been detected, will be found 
corrected either in the text, in foot-notes, or in the index. 

F. H. S. 




Officers of the Society iii 



The Achievements of Capt. John Montresor on the 
Niagara Frank H. Severance 

Papers Relating to the War of 1812 on the Niagara Frontier: 

I. The First Shot. Reminiscences of 

Archer Galloway 
II. Militia Service of 1813-14. Correspondence of . . 

Maj.-Gcn. Amos Hall 

III. Two Dramatic Incidents . . . Gen. Asa Warren 61 

IV. A Hero of Fort Erie. Correspondence of 

Lieut. Patrick McDonogh 64 

V. The Sortie from Fort Erie . . . William A. Bird 95 
VI. A War-Time Letter-Book. Correspondence oi . . 

Jonas Harrison gg 

A Niagara Falls Tourist of 1817. The Journal of 

Capt. Richard Langsloiv 1 1 1 

Historical Writings of Judge Samuel Wilkeson: 

Preface: Biographical Sketch . Samuel Wilkeson, Jr. 135 
Recollections of the West and the Building of the 
Buffalo Harbor Judge Samuel Wilkeson 

I. Removal to Western Pennsylvania 147 

II. Difficulties of Early Settlers 151 

III. Early Commerce of the West 156 

IV. To St. Clair's Defeat 160 

V. The Whiskey Insurrection 163 

VI. The Whtskey Insurrection, concluded 168 

VII. Channel of Trade — Western Boatmen .... 176 



VIII, The Likf. of the Keel-Boatmen 179 

IX. Land Speculations 182 

X. Beginning of Buffalo Harbor 185 

XI. The First Season's Work 188 

XII. Progress — and Catastrophe 192 

XIII. Nature helps .make a New Channel 195 

XIV. The First Lake Harbor — Two Characters . . . 199 
XV. Another Crisis 203 

XVI. Fruition — And an Excursion 208 

Early Trade Routes: Adventures and Recollections of a 

Pioneer Trader Capt. James Sloan 215 

Buffalo Harbor: Its Construction and Improvement dur- 

ing the XIXth Century 

Maj. Thomas IV. Symons. C. E.. U. S. A., and 

John C. Ouintus, M. E. 

[Introduction: Prior to 1826] ............ 240 

I. The Entrance Channel and Piers 245 

II. Protection Work along the Lake Shore 252 

III. The Breakwaters and Outer Harbor 260 

Early Days on the Lakes and the Cholera Visitation 

of 1832 Capt. Augustus Walker 287 

The Wreck of the Walk-in-the- Water 

Mary A. Withcrcll Palmer 319 

How Niagara was made free; the passage of the Niagara 

Reservation Act in 1885 . . . Hon. Thomas I . Welch 325 

Historical Sketch of the Buffalo Library . . /. .V. Lamed 361 

The Buffalo Free Public Library Movement ix the Year 

1897 Henry L. Elmendorf 377 

The new Home of the Buffalo Historical Society in Dela- 
ware Park : 

I. Notes on the Earlier Years . Frank 11. Severance 3X5 

II. A Record of Legislation . . Hon. Henry W. Hill 390 

III. The Building Described, by its architect 

George Gary 397 




I. Julius E. Francis and the Lincoln Birthday Associa- 
tion , 405 

II. The Niagara Frontier Landmarks Association . . . 409 

III. Bibliography of the Upper Canada Rebellion .... 427 

IV. Buffalo Historical Society Publications 497 

Index 501 


Buffalo Historical Society Building Frontispiece 

Buffalo Historical Society Buildixc, : Grand 

Portico Faces page 1 

Portrait. Judge Samuel Wilkeson " 135 

Portrait. Andrew Langdon '* 385 

Buffalo Historical Society Building: Museum " 389 
Buffalo Historical Society Building: Lecture 

Room " 393 

Buffalo Historical Society Building: Jos. C. 

Greene collection " 397 

Langdon Bronze Doors. Historical Building . " 401 

Lincoln Statue. Historical Building " 405 

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Little attention appears to have been given, by students 
of the history of the Niagara frontier, to the period shortly 
after the British had succeeded the French in possession of 
Fort Niagara. The French relinquished that post in July, 
1759. The British garrisoned the fort, and immediately 
established communication with Fort Pitt by way of Fresqu' 
He, now Erie. The following year came Major Robert 
Rogers and his rangers, with numerous British officers en 
route to Detroit to receive the surrender of the French gar- 
rison at that point. There was much coming and going. 
Sir William Johnson early returned to the scene of his vic- 
tory over tlie French ; but the traders were ahead of him, 
eager to seize the opportunities which the conquest had 
opened. When on his way to Detroit in 1761, he found that a 
storehouse had been built at the upper landing on the Niag- 
ara by Rutherford, Duncan & Co., who were preparing to 
monopolize the carrying-place around the Falls under au- 
thority of a permit from Gen. Amherst. They had dis- 
covered a quantity of hand-sawed lumber left by the French 
in the Chippewa Creek, and were using it to build a small 


vessel for the purpose of exploring the unknown shores 
of the upper lakes. Blockhouses guarded the wharves at 
the upper and lower landings, the former being known as 
Little Niagara; windlasses were used for hoisting heavy 
weights up the heights, and also fur helping vessels to over- 
come the rapids at the head of the river. 

But the march across country, from the point at Lewis- 
ton Heights to the place of re-embarking above the falls, 
was all unprotected. The ambuscade and massacre at the 
Devil's Hole, in 1763, was one of the most atrocious episodes 
of this period. It is also one of the most familiar ; and I 
pass over it to dwell upon the important steps which the 
British immediately took to prevent its repetition. 

This is the period, the reader will recall, when Pontiac 
was plotting his great blow at the British. Major Gladwin 
was hemmed in at Detroit until relieved by the expedition 
of I/63. To make more vivid the conditions of the time 
and place, on the Xiagara frontier and to the westward, I 
submit the following episode, of which no mention will be 
found in Park-man or other less valuable chronicles of the 
times of Pontiac and his conspiracy : 

In August or September, 1763, there arrived at Fort 
Xiagara one Lieut. Rutherford, in charge of a vessel which 
Major Gladwin had sent down from Fort Detroit for goods. 
Rutherford, who was a mere youth, had just escaped from 
a long and cruel captivity. In May of that year Major 
Gladwin of the 80th Regiment, commanding officer at De- 
troit, being anxious to know whether the lakes and rivers 
between that place and Mackinac were navigable for ves- 
sels larger than the small batteaux then in use, dispatched 
a small party, under command of Capt. Charles Robson of 
the 77th Regiment, on an exploring trip. Young Ruther- 
ford went with them. They were surprised by the Indians 
and Capt. Robson and most of the others were killed and 
scalped. Rutherford, made a prisoner, saw the body of 
Capt. Robson served up at a feast, and with great difficulty 
escaped from being compelled to eat of the remains of his 
friend. Flis master, Perwash, a Chippewa, made him wear 
Indian dress, kept him for a time as a slave, then adopted 


him, and finally sold him to a Frenchman named Quilleim. 
lie was recaptured by a band of Chippewas, taken before 
Pontiac, where he acted as interpreter, carried off by King 
Owasser, chief of the Ottawas, and by him delivered again 
to Perwash. young Rutherford's former master. He wit- 
nessed many atrocities and bore many hardships, and finally, 
by the aid of a Frenchman, made his escape, running away 
through the woods at night, clad only in a leathern shirt. 
His French friend met him at an appointed rendezvous 
with a canoe and took him down to Detroit. 

"The whole town turned out to see me," he afterwards 
wrote. "My appearance certainly was calculated to excite 
their pity as well as laughter. I had, as before remarked, 
nothing but a greasy painted shirt on, my face painted red, 
black and green, my hair cut all away, and my skin blacked 
all over with the moss I had put on. My legs were so 
lacerated with the briars and thorns, and so affected with 
poisonous vines, that they were swollen as big as any in 
Flis Majesty's service. Besides this, to those who inspected 
me narrowly, my arms presented the appearance or impres- 
sions, one of a turkey's foot, the other of a flower in pink 
or purple dyes. I had thus been tatooed by the savages as 
a mark set upon me as belonging to their tribe, and such is 
the indelible effect upon the part punctured, that the im- 
pression will remain as fresh through life as on the first day 
of the operation." 

After ten days' rest, Rutherford was sent by Major Glad- 
win in a vessel bound for the Niagara to procure a supply 
of provisions for the garrison. "I agreed to run the hazard 
of the undertaking," he writes, "and accordingly embarked 
on board the ship. We had some shots fired at us from 
the Huron Indians going down the river, which we returned. 
In four days we reached Fort Schelope [Schlosser], near 
the Falls, and marched under a strong guard to [Fort] 
Niagara, without experiencing any annoyance from the 
enemy. It was late before the sloop could be laden and 
ready to sail again. Some artillery and provisions with 
about 1 8 officers and men of the 17th and 46th Regiments, 
constituted the chief part of what we had on board." 


They had only sailed one day from Fort Schlosser, and 
must therefore have been well at the eastern end of the 
lake, when the vessel sprung aleak. The heavy artillery 
and other tilings were thrown overboard, and after desperate 
work at the pumps, when everybody was in despair, the 
sinking- ship grounded on a sand-bar within fifty yards of 
the shore. With great difficulty they landed only to be at- 
tacked by the Indians. The refugees fought from behind 
a temporary breastwork, several of their party being killed 
before the Indians left them. Here — our hero says they 
called the place Lover's Leap — they stayed for 24 days, 
awaiting a reinforcement of batteaux to take them back to 
Niagara. ""It was here," wrote Rutherford, "that I first 
entered upon duty as a private soldier. After we had quitted 
this position we marched over the carrying-place at the 
Falls just three days after the Indians had defeated our 
troops in a rencontre" — that is, the massacre of the Devil's 
Hole. "''We saw about 80 dead bodies, unburied, scalped 
and sadly mangled. When at Niagara I determined not to 
attempt fortune longer in the woods, and resolved to go to 
New York, where after residing some time with my uncle, 
I proceeded to join the 43d Regiment, in which corps I had 
obtained an Ensigncy, at the time when they were preparing 
for an expedition against the Shawanese and Delaware In- 
dians to the westward, under Gen. Bouquet. 7 '* 

I have given this episode to help make more vivid the 
conditions of the time. Now. m the spring of 1764, there 
came to Niagara Col. liradstreet and his army, on their way 
up Lake Erie, to force submission on the tribes in the neigh- 
borhood of Sandusky and Detroit. The arrival of this army 
of 1200 men at Fort Niagara, its advance over the portage 
and its embarkation at Fort Schlosser for Lake Erie, Park- 
man records in a single page ; but of the important work 
which had been done to make possible this rapid transit from 
lake to lake and around the great cataract with security 
against Indian surprise, he says not a word. On that sub- 
ject, drawinig my data from unfamiliar sources, I offer the 
following narrative. 

* For Rutherford's narrative, see Transactions of the Canadian Institute, 

Vol. in. 


On Sunday night, May 19, 17C4, there arrived at Fort 
Niagara a man whose coming was to prove of great sig- 
nificance in the Niagara region. This was Capt. John 
Montresor, His British Majesty's chief of engineers in 
America. He was a son of that Col. James Montresor, who, 
as chief military engineer for Gen. Amherst in 1759, had 
conceived and in part directed the plan, the successful exe- 
cution of which won Fort Niagara from the French. Capt. 
John, like his father, was an ahle engineer, but his long 
and arduous service for the King in America was but ill- 
requited. As he is to perform an important work on the 
Niagara it is well to form his intimate acquaintance.* 

He had already served four years at Gibraltar, as an as- 
sistant engineer under his father, prior to his departure from 
England for America, Dec. 24, 1754, in the same ship with 
Gen. Braddock. At first an ensign in the 48th Regiment, 
Gen. Braddock soon gave him engineer's rank at ten shil- 
lings a day; on July 4, 1755, he was made a lieutenant ot 
the 48th: he received an engineer's commission from Gen. 
Shirley, May 14, 1756, and thereafter served, according to 
his own journals, as "engineer and practitioner of engineer- 
ing," "lieutenant and sub-engineer," "engineer extraordin- 
ary and captain lieutenant," and "engineer in ordinary and 
captain" for ten years. Dec. 18, 1775. he received his special 
commission from the King as Chief Engineer of America. 
His American service covered nearly 24 years, in which 
period he served under 14 commanders in chief, was in 18 
actions and made 32 voyages. His journals record a long 
list of what he terms "special services," many of these being 
hazardous expeditious against the enemy, carrying des- 
patches, scouting, and well nigh every form of adventure 
which an intrepid soldier could undertake in wilderness 
warfare. One of these undertakings was what he termed 
his "great success in 1763. in relieving the garrison of De- 

* My narrative i~ based on the ' Montresor journals, the original MSS. of 
which are still preserved by the family. In i8Sj they were in possession of 
Col. Henry Edward Montresor of Stcnely Grange, Huntingdonshire, England, 
who permitted a copy to be made by Mr. G. I). Scull for the New York His- 
torical Society, which printed them in verbatim journal form in its Publications 
for the year named. 


troit with provisions and men, whereby the siege was raised, 
they having then fourteen days' Indian corn and bear's- 
grease to subsist on." This expedition brought him to the 
Niagara apparently in September — his first visit to the re- 
gion. He reached Detroit Oct. ^\, having been cast away 
at Presqu' He. attacked by Wyandots with a loss of three 
men, and again on board the schooner in the Detroit River, 
bnt this time without loss of life. In the late autumn of 
1763 he was again at Niagara, on his way back from De- 
troit to New York. Me reached that city Dec. 1 6th, and de- 
livered to Gen. Gage dispatches from Col. Gladwin. Lt.- 
Col. Eyre was then chief engineer. Major Gen. Sir Jeriery 
Amherst, who had held command in the "Middle British 
Colonies" (as distinguished from Canada) since 1758, had 
sailed for England Nov. 19th, nearly a month before 
Montresor's return. 

This service on the Western lakes in 1763 had in a meas- 
ure prepared our engineer for the task on the Niagara to 
which he was ordered in 17^4. Important as it undoubtedly 
was, it is but one of the long list of "extra services" which 
he afterwards enumerated, obviously with a sufficiently high 
appreciation of what he had done. He was to the fore in 
the first battle of the Revolution. "I attended Lord Percy 
from Boston towards the Battle of Lexington," he wrote in 
his journals. ''My advancing some miles in front of his 
corps with four volunteers, and securing the bridge across 
Cambridge River, 19th April, 1775: which prevented his 
Body from going the Watertown Road, whereby the Light 
Infantry and Grenadiers were not cut off, my having sent one 
Volunteer back to his Lordship ; the town of Cambridge 
in arms, and I galloped through them." Attempts were 
twice made, in Boston, to assassinate him. He it was who 
blew up Castle William, with its batteries and dependencies, 
in March, 1776. Of the Battle of the Brandywine, Sept. it. 
1777, he writes: "I directed the position and attack of most 
of the field train : and late in the evening, when the action 
was near concluded, a very heavy tire was received by our 
Grenadiers from f>.ooo Rebels, Washington's Rear-guard, 
when Col. Monckton requested me to ride through it to 


Brigadier-General Agnew's Brigade, and his 4 Twelve 
Pounders; which T did time enough to support them; and 
by my fixing the four 12 pounders, Routed the Enemy." 
J lis journals contain a further list, entitled, with his char- 
acteristic habit of lapsing into (or affecting) French, "Dcs 
petite sen ices qui ne vaut pas le peine de recontcr avec ceux 
passes"; among them being the suppression of four mu- 
tinies, the conveyance of timely warnings to Gen. Gage and 
Sir William Howe. etc. In the long list is this picturesque 
''petite service" : 

"My hearing that the Rebels had cut the King's head off 
the Equestrian Statue ( in the Centre of the Ellipps, near 
the Fort) at Xew York, which represented George the 3rd 
in the figure of Marcus Aurelius, and that they had cut the 
nose off, dipt the laurels that were wreathed around his 
head, and drove a musket Bullet part of the way through his 
Head, and otherwise disfigured it, and that it was carried 
to Moore's tavern, adjoining Fort Washington, on Xew 
York Island, in order to be fixed on a Spike on the Truck 
of that Flagstaff as soon as it could be got ready, I imme- 
diately sent Corby through the Rebel Camp in the beginning 
of September, 1776,. to Cox, who kept the Tavern at King's 
Bridge, to steal it from thence, and to bury it, which was 
effected, and was dug up on our arrival, and I rewarded 
the men, and sent the Head by the Lady Gage to Lord 
Townshend, in order to convince them at home of the In- 
famous Disposition of the Lmgrateful people of this dis- 
tressed Country." 

I cannot stay to enumerate all his services, either "grand" 
or "petite," or his equally long list of grievances, chief of 
which was that he never obtained higher rank than colonel. 
In his day "engineers were scarcely considered as belonging 
to the military service,' and did not rise by seniority or ob- 
tain army rank. The}- were called Mr. So-and-So, until the 
Sovereign as a reward for service, bestowed the honorary 
rank."" Though there is much in John Montresor's jour- 
nals that conveys an impression of absurd insistence on the 


value of his services, there is much more that testifies to 
genuine worth and substantial achievement, with scarce a 
soldier's meager reward. The Montresors served well their 
cause in the American wars. Allusion has been made to 
Capt. John's father. Col. James Montresor, who in his time 
was Chief Engineer in America and died in the British serv- 
ice. They were a family of soldiers, for three generations 
before Capt. John. lie lost two brothers in war, but bought 
for his three eldest sens commissions in the British Army. 
His wife lost her father and a brother in the Revolution, 
and her family were reduced from opulence to poverty 
through their loyalty to Great Britain. 

As for Capt. John himself, he was also impoverished, 
and after 21 years of service in America returned to En- 
gland in 177S, with a restless rebel ball in his body, broken 
in health, and embittered in spirit. He had filled an im- 
portant command, but was honored by no suitable recogni- 
tion ; others were promoted, but honors were withheld from 
him. He retired from the army in 1778, and in 1798 had 
been yet unable to pass his accounts at the Treasury for the 
expenditures of the Engineering Department between 1774 
and 177S. Full satisfaction appears never to have been 
made. Small wonder that he supplemented his journals 
with sharp criticism of British officers and operations in 
America. One of his observations, particularly apropos of 
Fort Niagara was that the war had "become unavoidably a 
war of Posts chiefly for the protection of the Loyalists, 
which ever drew our little army."* 

The foregoing are but glimpses of the man who, ar- 
riving at Fort Niagara on this Sunday evening of May, 

* Capt. Juhn Montresor, afterwards Colonel, was a relative of Susanna 
Rowson, and is said to have been the prototype of Moutraville, the hero of 
her once exceedingly-popular novel, '"Charlotte Temple, or a Tale of Truth" 
(London, 1790). "Col. John Montresor, while serving in the British army, 
persuaded Charlotte Stanley, a descendant of the Earl of Derby, to embark 
with him in 1774 to New York, where he abandoned her. She died in the Old 
Tree House on Pell and Doyers streets at the age of 10 years, and was buried 
in the graveyard of Trinity Church. In addition to the inscription, the slab 
bore the quarterings of the house of Derby, and in after-years the name of 
Charlotte Temple was substituted for that of Stanley."- — Applcton's Cyclopaedia 
of American Biography, article "Rowson." 


1764, led hither the first regiment of Canadians ever raised 
in the British service; who was to secure the Niagara por- 
tage for some seven miles by a chain of redoubts, against 
the Indians and before the arrival of the troops under Col. 
Uradstreet ; and was to make the first construction of Fort 
Erie, whose gray ruins, of a much later period of construc- 
tion, still stand, a picturesque landmark, at the angle of lake 
and river. 

In April of this year he had been ordered to join Brad- 
street. On reporting to that officer at Albany his first duty 
was to make a map of Lake Erie, with distances marked on 
it. That dune, Cradstreet sent him on ahead to fortify the 
Niagara carrying-place. The orders were that he should 
proceed from Fort Ontario with 300 Canadians, and 250 
light infantry, the whole under the command of Capt. Mont- 
gomery. When he reached Fort Ontario on May 2d, he 
found neither Canadian troops, Indian allies, nor an}' ves- 
sels for transport to Niagara. It was slow work, getting the 
expedition together. On the 5th, a detachment of 150 of the 
17th set off, under Capt. Montgomery. One by one the 
transports arrived from Niagara : the sloop Missassagues* 
the snow Johnson, two or three schooners and batteanx ; 
and on the 10th 102 batteanx reached the Oswego River, 22 
days from Montreal. This flotilla brought ordnance stores, 
2600 barrels of pork and Hour, and five companies of Cana- 
dian troops under Major Rigaudville, "310 men and a 
priest"; and the journal which affords these data furnishes 
a hint of the factional spirit which made itself felt among 
the troops by the further record that the "Canadian volun- 
teers encamped on the Orange side." The next day Capt. 

* Spelled in many ways, not only in Montresor's journals, but in many 
printed records and narratives. The Jesuit Relations (1670-1) have it'Missis- 
augue, designating a tribe of Indians of Algonquin stock who lived to the 
west of the Niagara. There was fur many years a village of them on Chip- 
pewa Creek. The point on the west side of the Niagara at its mouth, and the 
fort which the British built there in 1814, perpetuate the name, now spelled 
Mississaga. It was presumably the name of these Indians — at one period active 
allies of the British — that was given to the sloop. Whether or not the word 
is akin to '"massasauga," meaning, in some Indian dialects, a species of rattle- 
snake, I leave to the philological expert. There was a "Mississauga" on Lake 
Ontario as late as 1796. Probably several lake vessels have borne the name. 


Montresor was given command of the battalion of Canadian 
volunteers. He found them "without tent. Kettle or Toma- 
hawk," but they had been furnished at .Montreal with 15 
rounds of powder and ball, and 100 rounds in bulk. The 
following afternoon he exercised them in firing- at marks, 
and finally, after a delay of 12 days at Fort Ontario, he set 
out at daybreak of the 14th with his Canadian Volunteers, 
bound for Niagara. They were 20 boats in all, with five 
days' provisions and 40 spare barrels of pork and flour. 
Pork and flour, rlour and pork, are always with us in this 
story of Niagara, except on the numerous occasions when 
tins wearisome provision, often spoiled in transit, gave out 
utterly. The commissariat of these rough days offered few 
dainties beyond such as the woods and waters might now 
and then afford. But for the most part the wars on the Ni- 
agara were waged on "Hour and pork." 

For five days Capt. Montresor and his Canadians coasted 
along Lake Ontario. There was nothing of monotony in 
the voyage except hard work. The weather was fickle, with 
head winds and high seas. A captain of a Quebec company 
and a lieutenant of a Montreal company quarreled and 
fought a duel, the captain being wounded in the sword arm. 
Montresor put them both under arrest and honor was no 
doubt satisfied. But not even this episode added to the spirit 
of the troops as a whole. Short though the voyage was from 
Oswego, it must be remembered that it was for most of the 
men but another weary stage in the long voyage from Mon- 
treal, Three Rivers and Quebec. For nearly a month the 
troops had been in transit. The captain complains that they 
had become indolent, "careless of their arms and slovenly 
service, falling sick daily overeating themselves and sleeping 
in the Sun on the bare ground." Improvidence reduced 
them to short rations ; so that Indians were sent out to 
hunt, and Capt. Montresor pushed on ahead to Niagara. 
The detachment came up on the 20th, were put into camp 
at Johnson's Landing, four miles west of the fort : and here 
was entered upon another stage in the preparation for Ilrad- 
street's expedition. 

The succeeding days were busy ones at Fort Niagara 


and up and down the river. Capt. Montresor addressed 
himself zealously to the task assigned him. On May 22(1 
he sent a detachment of his men with an assistant engineer 
up to Navy Island, where Capt. Montgomery was in com- 
mand. Montresor made a reconnaissance of the portage, 
studying in particular the edge of the mountain, that he 
might place to best advantage a rope hoist, with cradles 
above and below, for the raising of provisions, ordnance 
and ammunition. On the 25th he fixed upon the spot where 
an entrenchment should be dug for the cradle at the top of, 
the mountain. He doubted that it would work well, and 
his fears were well founded, for the next day the lower 
cradle broke down and fourteen barrels of provisions were 
lost in the river. It was nearly a month before this appara- 
tus gave satisfaction, but by June 23th there were "3 double 
cradles and several Crabs or Capstans conlpleated," and by 
their aid provisions and ammunition were being forwarded 
over the portage at a rate sometimes exceeding 300 barrels a 

On May 20th Capt.. Montresor's men had come on from 
Johnson's Landing to Fort Niagara. The following day he 
let them rest and make up cartridges for the expedition. 
But there was not much time lost. Soon, in constant pro- 
cession, the cumbrous. batteaux were making their way back 
or forth along the green reach of river between the fort and 
the landing at the carrying-place, where navigation ends on 
account of the rapids, just under the Lewiston heights. Here 
hundreds of barrels of provisions and all sorts of army 
stores were soon accumulated, to be hoisted up the heights. 
One body of Canadians were set to work cutting brush, 
trimming poles and building a shed on top of the "moun- 
tain." By the 29th Capt. Montresor had at work on the 
portage 656 men, including his Canadian Provincials, regu- 
lars, teamsters, Indians and artificers. He had tried in vain 
to get help from Capt. Montgomery's party on Xavy Island; 
he therefore appealed to Col. Browning for whatever men 
he could spare from the garrison to help entrench the carry- 
ing-place. The yawning gulf of the Devil's Hole was a con- 
stant reminder that the massacre of the previous autumn 


might yet have a bloody sequel. Strengthening his request 
by a display of his instructions from Col. Bradstreet, he suc- 
ceeded in getting 1 10 men from the 46th Regiment, to pro- 
tect the carrying-place. Thus reinforced he set about the 
construction of two redoubts, "the first at 800 yards, the 
second at 1000 yards further." 

On the morning of the 30th, with four companies of 
Canadian volunteers, one sergeant and 20 men of the 80th 
and 46th Regulars, he established his posts on the portage, 
and stationed two 6-pounders, "one at the camp guard on a 
rising ground fronting the woods, and the other upon the 
edge of the precipice to scour the cradles, lest the enemy 
should make an attempt to destroy them/' There were con- 
stant reports of threatened Indian attacks, but by the 3rst 
the redoubt on the portage was finished without molesta- 

On June 1st our engineer pushed on for another stage of 
his work. Under the protection of a squad of ten regulars 
and six Canadians for Hankers he marked out three more 
redoubts extending to within three and a half miles of Little 
Niagara. The next da}', Capt. Montgomery having come 
from Navy Island to take command of the troops, Capt. 
Montresor pushed ahead and marked out three more re- 
doubts, the last within 800 yards of Fort Schlosser or Little 
Niagara. That nearest Little Niagara being situated on 
rocky ground, he was obliged to construct a log work in- 
stead of a stockade. 

By the 3d of June there was reasonable protection against 
Indian surprise, and great activity all along the portage. 
One party was building a log wharf at the lower landing ; 
another was at work on the cradles ; detachments were busy 
at the entrenchments, or escorting provisions ; while up on 
Navy Island a large force of troops were helping the ship- 
builders or mounting guard against the always-dreaded at- 
tack. During this work Capt. Montresor had sometimes 
crossed the portage "over 6 times a day." 

Now came the 4th of June, the King's birthday. Over 
700 barrels of provisions were piled up at Fort Schlosser. 
and for the first time it was deemed safe for the provision 


trains to cross the portage without armed escort. It always 
rejoices the heart of man to have accomplished a task. 
Something more than loyalty to George III. now warranted 
a celebration. From Fort Niagara, all along this line of re- 
doubts, to Fort Little Niagara, the woods echoed with 
salvos from the field artillery. As night came on, rockets 
were fired from the "grand fort," as Engineer Montresor 
terms it, bonfires were kindled at the camps along the preci- 
pice, loyal toasts were pledged, and soldier songs rose on 
the mild June air. 

Was there ever a holiday not followed by depression and 
discontent ? The second day after the celebration orders 
came from Fort Niagara recalling to that post the detach- 
ment of the 46th and 80th that had been assisting Capt. 
Montresor and guarding the portage. Only 35 men and an 
officer were allowed him from the garrison, in addition to 
his own force. Yet the very day of their recall, June 6th, 
the tracks of four hostile Indians were discovered in the 
woods. Capt. Montresor confided a criticism or two to his 
journal. "A total Discord in the Service at Niagara Fort & 
in all orders from it," he wrote. "Disunion prevalent more 
troops than are necessary yet none to spare. In short Dis- 
sension predominant." 

But he pushed the work along with unflagging zeal. 
While the stores were being gotten over the portage, the 
brass 6-pounders and boats being hauled by ox teams, the 
Captain "directed an astronomical survey with a plane Table 
from Niagara to the Fort at Little Niagara," and on June 
8th he began work on the "grand store house" at Little 
Niagara, the work being interrupted by a fruitless pursuit 
of "Ennemy Indians." The next day was an eventful one. 
The snow Mohawk, the sloop Missisaugas and two other 
vessels arrived at Fort Niagara with provisions and 39 
horses for use on the portage. These are not the first horses 
on the Niagara, but there had not been many ahead of them. 
A part}' of friendly Indians this day, in passing towards 
the Fort "never sent any word back after passing the first 
Redoubt on the Portage until they were near the 2d : thought 
they were near enough to the Indian Encampment & as 


usual began to salute, being loaded with Ball which whistled 
through the Indian Encampment. They were alarmed and 
took to the trees & the Garrison taking our new friendly 
Indians to be Ennemies fired, shot 3 through the legs. I 
ran by desire of Capt. Montgomery and had the Canadians 
under arms & cut through the woods back to the portage 
as the Cannon fired & gave the alarm." After the scare was 
over, no doubt with some chagrin, work was resumed of 
forwarding supplies up the portage; but it lagged, "the 
Canadians making 10,000 Difficulties, as usual, did not work 
l /2 the day, on account of Provision, heat Sick, &c. &c." 
And on this same busy day came orders from Col. Brad- 
street directing A 1 a j . Riquandville f ? Rigaudville] and a 
part of the Canadians to go to Xavy Island for the pro- 
tection of the shipping, while Capt. Montgomery, 168 Cana- 
dians and men of the 17th were to push on to the "Rapids," 
as the outlet of Lake Erie was then termed. This was a 
marked advance in the progress of the expedition. Capt. 
Montgomery and his force left Fort Xiagara on June 10th. 

For the next ten days Montresor's journal is devoted to 
his own work — the strengthening of defenses at the redoubts 
on the portage and at Fort Xiagara, the progress of his 
survey, the coming and going of vessels, and the gathering 
of Indians ; but by the 20th he had heard that Capt. Mont- 
gomery and force had fortified themselves on the east shore, 
at the Rapids — which would be within the present limits of 
the city of Buffalo. Two vessels had been launched from 
Xavy Island and a third was on the point of readiness. The 
first one got safely up the Rapids and into Lake Erie, one 
sailor being drowned. The second schooner was not got up 
into the lake until July 2d. She was "hauled up by 150 men 
without the benefit of either wind or the capstans and loaded 
with Three hundred Barrels of Provisions for Detroit." On 
the 4th of July the third schooner, the Charlotte, which had 
been damaged at the launching, was hauled up the rapids 
into Lake Erie ; and on the same day the schooner Gladwin 
sailed for Detroit. 

On June 22(1. another Indian scare disturbed the work 
all along the Xiagara. A man of the Royal Artillery was 


found killed and scalped, with the tomahawk sticking in his 
.skull. This happened between the fourth and fifth redoubts, 
and a mile from the encampment where ioo men, mostly 
Indians in the British service, were gathered at the time. 
The tomahawk proclaimed the enemy to be Allegheny In- 
dians. A party of 30 set out in immediate pursuit, but fad- 
ing to track the assailants returned to camp. That night a 
larger party, 60 men with three batteaux, renewed the pur- 
suit. They made their way up the difficult rapids, out into 
Lake Erie, around the bar at the mouth of Buffalo Creek, 
and so up that stream, on the theory that the marauders 
would have left their canoes in Buffalo Creek, and might 
be intercepted there on their return. - Two days later the 
pursuers, who had divided into two parties, returned crest- 
fallen to camp, having found no trace of the wily and au- 
dacious foe. 

It is worth noting, in passing, that in his journal, June 
22, 17^4, Capt. Montresor gives "Buffalo Creek" the same 
spelling it bears today. I know of no earlier mention of the 
stream, regarding the origin of whose name so many con- 
jectures have been made. 

There were other attacks by hostile Indians, during the 
weeks that followed ; they tried to steal the cattle that were 
turned out to graze ; but beyond wounding a soldier or two, 
no harm was done. "The Ennemy," wrote Montresor, "ne- 
glected a decisive blow by cutting off the cattle before the 
redoubts were constructed on the portage." As the summer 
advanced, the activity increased, especially at the upper end 
of the portage and thence to Lake Erie. Ox teams and 
horses were hauling provisions and munitions of war. The 
portage road was improved. Capt. Montresor made an 
exact measurement of it. He ascertained that the carrying- 
place, from Fort Niagara to Fort Little Niagara, was 25,620 
yards long, or 14 miles and 95 yards. The portage proper 
from the fortification at the lower landing under Lewiston 
Heights to Fort Little Niagara, was five miles, 1200 yards. 
By the 28th of June a vast quantity of stores had been for- 
warded over this road ; on that day 4791 barrels of pro- 
visions lay piled up at Little Niagara or were on their way 


to the Rapids ; besides barrels of powder and ammunition. 
iron, nails and other equipment for the vessels, ordnance, 
soldiers' baggage and the usual necessaries for an advancing" 
army. There being" but few axes found in the stores, Capt. 
Montresor bought from the Indian traders a quantity of 
large tomahawks. All this freight made necessary the con- 
struction of a wharf at Little Niagara ioo feet long, so that 
the long boats could be loaded with facility. By the end 
of June, there being no more provisions to get over the 
portage, the ox teams and wagons were frequently un- 
employed, and part of the "cattle" were put to work hauling 
timber for the wharf, which was begun on Jul}' 2d. On the 
6th, Capt. Montresor returned to Fort Niagara ; and at 7 
o'clock the next morning the Mohawk arrived with Col. 
Bradstreet on board — "very ill, also the Commodore, the 
Commissary of Musters, Surgeon of the Hospital and Brig- 
ade Major. " Their vessel had left Fort Ontario on the 
evening of the 3d with the rest of the army, most of which 
did not reach the Niagara until the 9th of July. 

As soon as Col. Bradstreet had recovered from the dis- 
turbing effects of Lake Ontario's waves and was ready for 
business Capt. Montresor waited on him at the fort and 
delivered a detailed report of what had been done under 
his charge at the forts and on the portage ; and that even- 
ing received from his superior officer orders for an 
important new undertaking. "You will proceed tomorrow 
at daylight," said Col. Bradstreet, "to the outlet of Lake 
Erie. Make examination of the discharge above the rapids 
and select a proper place for fortification. It must com- 
mand an anchorage where vessels may lie. while being pro- 
visioned for Detroit, in all respects a proper entrepot. You 
shall have one of the assistant engineers to aid you in the 
work. The other must be left here ; he will have to survey 
the new limits of the portage, as fixed by this treaty. Sir 
William Johnson wijl have instructions for him." In these 
orders of Col. Bradstreet, delivered to Capt. Montresor at 
Fort Niagara on the evening of Jul)' 7, 1704, we have the 
first word in the history of Fort Erie. 

Montresor left Fort Niagara earlv the next morning". 


but it was 10 o'clock that evening when he stood on the 
shore of Lake Erie. The next day was devoted to a trip of 
exploration. With a small detachment from Capt. Mont- 
gomery's party, he went tip Buffalo Creek, examining- the 
hanks for a site suitable for a post. Once past the bar at 
the month, they rowed tip the deep, placid stream, bordered 
on either hand by fine basswoods, oaks and maples. Further 
up, thickets of willows fringed the deep bends, beyond which 
stretched rich low meadows, bearing the marks of inunda- 
tion at the time of the spring freshets. Signs of game were 
abundant, and the flash of their oars startled flocks of wild 
fowl from their sanctuary. As they rowed cautiously from 
bend to bend a sharp watch was kept on either hand, for 
this was a favorite highway of the hostile Indians, bands of 
whom, hidden on the forest-clad banks, no doubt watched 
jealously the progress of the boats. Such was the stream 
and such the known conditions on this the first recorded ex- 
ploration made on its waters by white men. Railroads, 
wharves and uncouth elevators long since usurped the for- 
est, and traffic sits enthroned where, at the time we are con- 
sidering, Xature held sway, and only the wild children of 
the forest and the stream, and their wild human brother, 
with noiseless foot or gliding canoe, scarce broke the soli- 

Capt. Montresor found no spot along Buffalo Creek or 
the adjacent shore that suited the needs of the expedition. 
He was therefore rowed across the river, and here "on the 
northwest side just at the discharge," after some survey, he 
marked out a spot where vessels might be loaded. Hasten- 
ing back to Fort Niagara the next day (July ioth) he laid 
before Col. Bradstreet a sketch of the situation ; showed 
how it could be fortified, and how advantageous it was for 
the lading and shelter of vessels. Col. Bradstreet approved 
of the work and ordered that it be expedited. Some neces- 
sary delay, however, occurred. Important matters were 
under consideration at Fort Niagara. The Colonel directed 
that another redoubt be built on the portage at the Three 
Mile bridge; he had no relish for falling into an ambush. 
Our engineer gave directions for constructing a bake house 


for the- army at Fort Schlosser, and for fitting up another 
oven of masonry at Fort Niagara; so that it was the 17th 
before lie could return to Lake Erie. On that day, his plans 
having been approved, Capt. Montresor came over the port- 
age and up the river with 500 men to establish the new post. 
He had two battalions of the Connecticut and Jersey forces, 
450 men. The flotilla, 12 large boats and four batteaux, 
camped during the night of the 17th on Navy Island. There 
were "prodigious rains" that night and all the next day, but 
the detachment came on, bringing 176 barrels of provision^, 
tools, etc., to "the point of Lake Erie" at the northwest side 
and there they encamped ; "the ground," says Capt. Montre- 
sor's journal, "extremely rich, covered with Beach. Hickory, 
.Walnut &c. and the situation answering Expectation in 
every respect for my Fort. Provision Store & Wharf." Men 
were at once set to work felling timber and clearing the 
ground ; ax called to ax, and the bannerets of blue smoke 
that rose from the burning brush were the first heralds to 
the forest shores around of British occupancy at the east 
end of Lake Erie. 

On July 19th the schooner Gladwin arrived from De- 
troit, in quest of provisions ; and on that day Capt. Montre- 
sor went once more, with a party of light infantry, up Buf- 
falo Creek, for what purpose the journals do not record. 
On the 20th an assistant engineer and 14 carpenters arrived. 
Stockades were cut and pointed. On the 24th four com- 
panies of light infantry under Major Daly arrived from the 
east side of the rapids and encamped at the new fort. ' Ar- 
tificers were squaring timbers for the barracks and store- 
houses ; others were setting the stockades, while yet another 
party were making a stone revetment for the polygon of 
the fort next the lake. By the 31st the journal records, "the 
post now becomes defencible." ( )n the 3d of August Mon- 
tresor sent to Col. Bradstreet for ox teams to haul out the 
timbers for the piers and wharves. Masonry foundations 
were laid for officers' quarters and soldiers' barracks ; a 
provision store was begun, next the lake, and a parade 
ground levelled oft. There were at work carpenters, 
masons, brickmakers. lime burners, shingle makers and 


sawyers. And on Aug. 4th dispatches arrived from Col. 
LJradstreet in which it was ordered that the new work be 
known as Fort Erie ; — the first appearance of this name in 
history. Constructive work continued, much interrupted 
by rain, and by fever, ague and "fluxes" [/. c, dissentery] 
among the men, for some days thereafter. Vessels were ar- 
riving down from Detroit, to be loaded with stores and some 
of the impedimenta of the advancing army ; and day after 
day long-boats and batteaux were arriving from down the 
river. On the 8th the main body of troops passed up, and 
crossing to the south shore pursued its course on the far 
from glorious campaign. But the labors of Capt. John 
Montresor had enabled the army to pass the dread Niagara 
portage in safety. 


OF 1 8 1 2 on the Niagara Frontier 





The following reminiscences were written, about 1850, 
by Archer Galloway, a veteran of the War of 18 12. The 
manuscript has since been preserved unpublished by his 
family. For its present use acknowledgment is made to Air. 
Milford Galloway, of Palmyra, Xew York. 

Archer Galloway was born in Newtown, now Elmira, in 
1790. In that year the family moved to the vicinity of what 
is now Palmyra, X. Y., where Archer spent his youth on a 
frontier farm. lie enlisted at 22. After the war he bought 
and drove cattle to the Philadelphia market, kept a store, 
and engaged in various occupations. He married, and in 
1838 moved to Reading, Mich., where he built the first frame 
house in the neighborhood, and continued for many years 
as surveyor and farmer. He died in 1864. The following 
narrative is given as far as possible in his own language, 
though parts of it are abridged and condensed : 

I know of but two men now living, besides myself, who 
were engaged in the war of 1S12 [on the Niagara]. They 
are Maj. Gen. Scott, and Lewis Kent, now living in Ingham 


Co., this State [Mich.]. War was declared June 18, 1812. 
but as early as April of that year Gov. Tompkins of New 
York ordered two companies of volunteers to be raised in 
Seneca and Ontario Counties, and to proceed immediately to 
Fort Niagara. We volunteered for one year; and on the 
18th of May the two companies, one commanded by Capt. 
Elias Hall, the other by Capt. Samuel Jennings, left Canan- 
daigua for the frontier. The most frequent incident on the 
march out was that we had very frequently to lift our bag- 
gage wagons out of the mire, for the country was entirely 
new and muddy. I think we were eleven days in getting to 
Fort Niagara. 

From this time on until the news of the declaration of 
war was received, our time was spent in preparations for 
the coming struggle. Batteries were erected at Lewiston 
and other points, guns mounted, etc. ; but, oh, how memor- 
able was the day on which the news of the declaration of 
war arrived — and strange to say the British received it two 
hours before we did, and what a commotion and kicking up 
of dust by them ! It was a caution to young soldiers like 
ourselves, and it appeared to us that they were literally run- 
ning crazy. 

By and by an express came cantering along for our post, 
which explained to us the trouble our enemies were in. The 
country on both sides of the river was clear, with nothing to 
prevent our seeing each other's movements. Each was ex- 
pecting a visit from the other, and much figuring and ma- 
neuvering by each were practised with a view to deceive 
as to numbers and strength. 

Well, now war was literally begun, but not a gun was 
fired, for each had all they could do to keep up appearances, 
neither party being very well prepared. Soon after, the 
United States soldiers arrived to take care of the fort, and 
the volunteers moved up the river, stopping a while at 
Lewiston, then on to Tonawanda, and finally we brought up 
at Black Rock, three miles below Buffalo, and opposite a 
place called Waterloo on the Cana'dian side. There we 
erected our mole batteries, 25 rods long : sods and fascines 
were its construction of composition, five feet high and 


12 feet deep: and after mounting- our guns we were ready 
for operations. At this time the British had their heavy 
guns mounted, facing ours, and theV looked rather saucy. 

I was an officer and commanded the gun that threw the 
first ball at the enemy, at the commencement of hostilities. 
Until now, we had not been permitted by our superiors to 
get up any quarrel with our neighbors, and were not allowed 
to fire a gun except with blank cartridges for the purpose 
of practice, and we were tired of lounging and doing noth- 
ing. So accordingly the British came near the river and 
commenced building a battery, some 30 or 40 men. Now 
the question was, should we permit them to do it ? We 
could do nothing unless slyly. done, orders being against 
us. However, it seemed most too much to allow our enemies 
to erect machines immediately under our noses to kill us 
with. We accordingly consulted as to whether we were able 
to get a ball in the gun unknown to our officers. One of the 
soldiers, Mr. Kent, before spoken of, believed it could be 
done, and with permission he would undertake to do it. He 
was allowed to try his skill. 

After waiting for a favorable opportunity, the ball went 
in, unknown to any except those engaged in it. Our next 
business was to gauge the gun with the view to have the ball 
fall short of them, as we did not desire to kill them but 
merely to drive them away. 

All things being ready, the match was applied. Bang! 
went the gun. The ball struck where we intended. The 
British were so completely enveloped in smoke and dust 
that not one of them could be seen, but as soon as they could 
be we found them running in every direction, some falling 
down, others over them. To complete the mortification on 
their part, but gratification on our part, we took off our 
chapeaux and gave them three cheers. 

When our officers made inquiries, who had disobeyed 
orders, no one knew anything about it. They did not try 
very hard to find out. 

Xow as each party was waiting for the other, the re- 
straint was removed. The next morning the British opened 
upon us with long guns. The balls that went over our bat- 


teties would take our barracks, which were in the rear. 
They were built of poles, and before night not one pole was 
left on another; but we paid them in their own coin, and 
silenced one gun and knocked down two or three houses, so 
they got little or no advantage of us. 

Most of our forces being stationed at this time at Lewis- 
ton under Gen. Stephen Van Rensselaer, they soon began to 
make preparations for invading Canada from that place. 
Accordingly, after collecting the forces at the different 
points on the river, as many as could be spared, and all 
things seeming to be ready, thirteen boats filled with men 
armed and equipped according to law appeared on the 13th 
of October, 18 12, on the Canada shore near Oueenston. 
all commanded by Col. Solomon Van Rensselaer.* Other 
field officers were Gen. YY. Wadsworth, and Col. Scott. The 
commander being wounded in the ankle before leaving the 
boat, he soon after forming the men gave command to Gen. 
Wadsworth, and he soon gave it to Col. Scott, who imme- 
diately ordered two companies, in one of which I was, to 
storm the two forts thai were observed on the side of the 
mountain, the remainder to form at the foot parallel with it. 
Within twenty minutes after forming we had full possession 
of all the British works, with their own guns turned on 
them ; and in 20 minutes more not an enemy was to be seen. 
At this time we had 15 men killed and 25 wounded, the Brit- 
ish not as many, they having the advantage of us. Within 
a short time the British made their appearance again, com- 
manded by Brock, formed in line parallel to ours, and when 
they came in reach of the guns in the fort we made great 
havoc among them, and as they came nearer we gave them 
grape and cannister. About this time Gen. Brock and his 
aids were killed and their men broke and fled. 

We saw no more of the enemy until about three o'clock 
in the afternoon, when they made their appearance again, 
1600 strong, under Gen. Sheaffe, and so far outnumbered us 

* Mr. Galloway calls him "Col." lie had been Adjutant General of New 
York since January, 1801. He held that office when the war broke out, but at 
the request of his uncle, Major General Stephen Wan Rensselaer, he took a 
position on the lattcr's staff, in which capacity he served at Oueenston. 


that after an hour and a half of hard fighting we were 
obliged to surrender. At this time the plain was well strewn 
with red-coats. According to official returns our losses 
were, killed 78, and 109 wounded ; the British had, killed 
127, and 191 wounded. Most of the losses occurred in the 
second and last battle. Col. Scott displayed great military 
tactics with a view to keeping possession of the field, and I 
am happy in contemplating the fact that I have served my 
country under so brave a soldier and as good a man as Gen. 
Scott. I received a bayonet wound at the storming of the 

Early in April the next year the British appeared off 
Sodus on Lake Ontario. Consequently all who were able 
to bear arms, for many miles around, were ordered out, I 
among the rest, to defend the military stores at that place. 
The enemy landed 500 or 600 men, with a view to carry 
off the said stores, but by a well-appointed force under 
Captain Hull, [we] soon convinced them that they could not 
have them, and that they had better go on board of their 
boats, which they did in such haste that they by accident or 
design threw overboard some 20 muskets which we secured 
after they had retreated. 

About two weeks after this we had a similar contest with 
them at Pultneyville, higher up on the lake 






The following letters and orders, now first published, 
are drawn from the original manuscript order book of Major 
General Amos Hall, kindly placed at the service of the Buf- 
falo Historical Society by his granddaughter, Mrs. Samuel 
Johnson of Dowagiae, Mich. 

Amos Hall, of English lineage, was born at Guilford, 
Conn., Nov. 21, 1761. At the age of 14, as fifer, he joined 
a company commanded by his father, Capt. Stephen Hall, 
and served until the close of the Revolution, being a ser- 
geant when the war ended. In i/SS-'Sc) he was connected 
with a surveying corps, engaged in surveying lands of the 
Phelps and Gorham Purchase in Western Xew York. In 
April, 1790, he bought over 3000 acres in Township Ten, 
Range Five, now West Bloomfield, and two lots in Canan- 
daigua village. He settled on his Bloomfield purchase in 
1790, where he "kept bachelor's hall" until, Dec. 11. 1 79 1 , 
he married Phebe Coe of Granville, Mass., and brought her 
to his western home. 

In July, 1790. having been appointed United States Mar- 
shal, he took the first census of Western Xew York, em- 



bracing all the territory in the state west of the eastern line 
of the Phelps and Gdrham Purchase. His returns showed a 
total of 1084 persons. There were 205 families, of which 
number but 24 lived west of the Genesee River. Sixteen 
blacks were reported, of whom seven were free and nine 
were slaves. 

At the first town meeting of the town or district of Gene- 
seo — which included all that portion of the state west of 
Canandaigua — held at Canawagas in April, 1791, he was 
chosen one of its five assessors, which office he appears to 
have held for two years. He was supervisor in '93, '94, and 
"95 ; becoming supervisor of Bloomfleld on the organization 
of the town in 1796. He was surrogate of Ontario County, 
i796-'98; member of assembly from Ontario and Steuben, 
i/98-'99; from Genesee and Ontario in i8o4-'o5, and was 
re-elected for 1808, but resigned. He was state senator from 
the Western District from 1S09 to 1813. He was one of the 
corporate trustees of the Canandaigua Academy, 1795, and 
held various other posts in the years prior to the outbreak 
of the War of 181 2. 

In 1800, Mr. Hall was appointed Brigadier General of 
Militia of Ontario and Steuben counties; and in 1810 was 
made Major General of the Seventh Division. He served 
on the Niagara Frontier in the War of 18 12, and for a short 
time in the opening year of the war was in command of the 
forces there. In December, 181 3, he was in command of 
hastily gathered troops, when, before organization could be 
effected,, occurred the battle of Black Rock. 

After the close of the war. Gen. Hall was occupied on 
commissions for the distribution of landed estates and di- 
vision of lands, a notable instance being the partition of a 
100,000 acre tract between an English claimant and the State 
of Connecticut, being associated in this work with Gen. 
Israel Chapin. He died Dec. 28, 1827, at his home at West 

The chief value of the documents which follow lies in 
the light they shed on the difficulties and embarrassments of 
the militia service in the Niagara operations, and of methods 
of discipline then employed. Gen. Hall's journal opens with 

MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. 29 

the following entry, the date in part torn from the manu- 
script, but obviously Dec. 24, 1813: 

"Brig. Genl. McClure commanding', by a polite note to 
Gen. Hall, assigned the command pro tempore. 

"10 o'clock p. m. A letter was ree'd from Capt. X. 
Marvin, dated Dec. 24th, morning, stating the enemy's 
forces at about 300 Indians and 1000 regulars. Reconnais- 
sances have been made as far as Beaches fields."" 

Gen. Hall's headquarters at this date were at Batayia. 
Division orders, issued by him Dec. 24, 18 13, directed Lieut. 
Col. Lawrence to "take the command of all the militia which 
have marched, or are to march to Lewiston from Batavia, 
and also of the troops now there under the command of 
Lieut. Col. Atchenson [Atkinson j, who will be second in 
command." On the 24th and succeeding days numerous 
appointments were made ; among others, Dr. Justin Smith 
to be surgeon to the detachment of volunteer militia on the 
Xiagara, under Lt. Col. Lawrence. On Christmas dav, that 
officer was ordered to join the detachment on the Ridge 
Road, march to Lewiston. and if possible to advance to Man- 
chester [Xiagara Falls] and Black Rock. The volunteer 
companies under command of Cols. Blakeslie and Gardiner, 
Capts. Llamlin, Rowley and Morehouse and Lieut. Kellogg 
were ordered, Dec. 25th, to "be inspected at this place [Ba- 
tavia] by Major Mathew Marvin, and march forthwith to 
Buffalo, and report themselves to the Major General at that 
place." Following these orders is this memorandum, under 
date of Dec. 26th : 

"At 12 o'clock took up our march from Batavia to Buf- 
falo ; arrived at Harris's in the evening. Heard a can- 
nonading in the direction of Black Rock ; it was ascertained 
to proceed from a firing commenced on the Canadian side 
upon a small vessel which was attempted to be got up the 
rapids. Vessel was stopped, no injury. 

"Arrived in the morning at Buffalo. Dispatched a mes- 
senger to Black Rock, to appraise Gen. Hopkins of arrival ; 

* T have not succeeded in identifying this point. 


requested his attendance for purpose of organizing plan of 

On the same day Maj. Gen. Hall issued general orders 
from his Buffalo headquarters, to the several corps of troops 
on the Niagara frontier, "that by the assent of Brig. Gen. 
McClure ( to whose command the said Frontier has been 
assigned by the Commander-in-chief), he has assumed the 
command on said frontier for a short time," and calling for 
full returns of the number and equipment of all the troops. 
That evening the General wrote the following letter to the 
Commander-in-chief : 

Buffalo, Dec. 26, 18 13. 
His Excellency Gov. Tompkins, 

Sir: — On my receiving information of the enemy's cross- 
ing the Niagara river, and taking the fort, I imme- 
diately set off for that frontier. On my arrival at Batavia 1 
found a number of volunteers assembled. I tarried one day 
to forward them on to the frontier and make arrangements 
for those who should follow. 

I this day arrived at Buffalo and assumed command of 
the troops ( being all volunteers ) now on this station. The 
whole number here and at Lewiston, etc., may amount to 
2000 of all descriptions. The enemy have made their ap- 
pearance opposite B. Rock, and an invasion is to be ex- 

The troops now out can be kept but a few days — the 
troops called out on your Excellency's last requisition can- 
not all arrive at this place until the middle or last of this 
week. The order did not reach me until the evening of 
the 1 6th inst. 

Our loss in the capture of Fort Niagara has been im- 
mense. What number of brave men have been sacrificed, 
we have not yet been able to learn, it must have been great. 
Several inhabitants have been killed at Lewiston, among 
whom it is not ascertained there are any women or children. 

I have the honor to be. Your Excellency's most Humble 
Servant AMOS HALL. 

MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. 31 

The returns made the next day to (Jen. Hall showed 
forces as follows: At Black Rock, under Gen. Hopkins, 
militia infantry, 3S1); Indians under Col. Granger, &$; 
Capt. Ransom's cavalry, $y. At Buffalo, under Col. Chapin, 
136; under Col. Boughton, cavalry and mounted infantry, 
129; under Maj. Adams, infantry, 3S2 ; under Col. Mallory, 
97; and Capt. Stannard's light artillery, 25 ; a total of 1278. 
The volunteer corps under Cols. Blakeslie, and Gardiner, 
Capts. Hamlin, Morehouse and Rowley and Lt. Kellogg:, 
were organized into a battalion to the command of which 
Col. Blakeslie was assigned. Col. Chapin was directed to 
post "a guard of 24 men under command of a subaltern at 
the lower part of the village, a guard of six men under com- 
mand of a corporal at the guide-post, also a guard of six 
men under the command of a corporal at the avenue leading 
to the Indian village, to be taken from any corps in the vil- 
lage of Buffalo. Eight men under Lieut. Col. S. Boughton 
were detached as patrols at Black Rock. 

The next day, Dec. 28th, Lt. Farnum was given com- 
mand of the batteries at Black Rock, and directed to raise a 
volunteer corps to serve under him, not exceeding 60 
men. At 10 in the morning all the troops in Buffalo were 
paraded and reviewed by Gen. Hall ; at 3 in the afternoon, 
those at Black Rock were similarly reviewed. The follow- 
ing communication, addressed to Gen. McClure, was re- 
ceived by Gen. Hall : 

Headquarters of Upper Canada, 
Niagara Frontier, 27 Dec, 18 13. 

Sir: — I am directed [by] Lieut. General Drummond to 
acknowledge the receipt of your letter addressed to Major 
General Vincent on the subject of the excesses said to have 
been committed by the Indians at Lewiston. That some 
excesses were committed the Lieut. General admits and sin- 
cerely laments, at the same time he has the satisfaction of 
knowing that every effort was made and every exertion used 
by Major General Riall, and the officers and soldiers of the 
British force under his command to restrain those excesses. 
You sir cannot but be aware of the difricultv or rather the 


impossibility of effectually controlling' an infuriated hand 

of savages. Major General Riall and the officers under his 

orders did however afford effectual protection to all who 

remained in their houses. A British soldier, a sentinel, lost 

his life in defending; a female, an inhabitant of Lewiston, 

and no less than nine women and eighteen children saved by 

the intrepidity of the Major General and the troops from 

the savage fury of the Indians, and now in safety on our 

frontier sufficiently attest the anxious [ ? anxiety] of the 

British troops and their commander to alleviate as much 

as possible to the peaceful inhabitants the dreadful evils of 

a mode of warfare, to which the example of the American 

Government had compelled us to have recourse. I allude as 

well to the employment of Indians by the American Generals 

beyond their own frontier as to the burning in which a 

number of old and infirm persons and children were left to 

perish in the snow, an act which, the season of the year 

and all other circumstances considered, is unexampled in 


I have the honor to be, Sir, with respect, Your Humble 

Servant, J. HARVEY, 

Lt. C., D. A. G., British Troops. 

[To] Brigadier General McClure, 

Commanding U. States troops, Xiagara Frontier. 

P. S. — I am instructed to say that immediate inquiry 
shall be made for the papers' of Capt. Camp and Lieut. 
Fraser and if received they shall be sent to them. J. FI. 

I am directed to take this occasion of enclosing a printed 
General Order by his Excellencie the Commander of the 
British forces in North America. J. H., D. A. G. 

In forwarding this letter Gen. Hall wrote : 

Bufealo, Dec. 29th, 18 1 3. 
Brigadier Gex. McClure: 

Sir : — Enclosed is a letter received yesterday by flag. 
Xot knowing but there might have been something that 
would have been important to he immediately known by 
the commanding officer I took the liberty to open it. I 


MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. 33 

found it contained an answer to your letter to Gen. Vincent, 
and a printed General Order of the Commander in Chief 
of the Canadas. 

We have now on the frontier, including Lewistcn, etc., 
ahout 2,000 volunteers. I had an inspection and review 
yesterday in Buffalo. The troops appeared extremely well 
and all equipped. We have heen able to bring- a little order 
out of confusion, which to be sure was very great when we 
arrived. I this day review the troops at the Rock. 

I have ascertained that no women or female children 
have been butchered in the late affair at X[iagara] and 

The detachment you will please to order on as ex- 
peditiously as possible for it will be absolutely necessary 
to keep at least 2,000 men on the frontier. The enemy make 
considerable movements on the opposite shore, and keep 
strict watch by night, by centinels and patrols. I however 
do not believe they will attempt to cross unless they find our 
force is wasting, which will of course be the case in a few 
days, unless the detachment should supply their places. 

I have the honor to be . 


An order was given Capt. Kellogg- to detach so many 
men from any troops in Buffalo as the quartermaster can 
employ in the laboratory in the making of cartridges, etc. 
( haste prevented a copy. ) ■ 

On the next day the following letter was dispatched by 
one of Gen. Hall's aids-de-camp : 

Buffalo 29th Deer. 1813. 
His Excellency Daniel D. Tompkins, 

Sir: — T am instructed by Maj. Gen. Hall to enclose you 
a return from the Asst. D. Q. M. Genl at this station, of the 
ordnance and ordnance stores on hand. I am further in- 
structed to state to your excellency that the forces now on 
the frontier are mostly composed of Volunteers who have 
left their homes under the impression that the tour would be 
short, and cannot be retained, consistently for a long period. 
The force of the enemy, in regulars and Indians, are from 

MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. 33 

found it contained an answer to your letter to Gen. Vincent, 
and a printed General Order of the Commander in Chief 
of the Canadas. 

We have now on the frontier, including Lewistcn, etc., 
ahout 2,000 volunteers. I had an. inspection and review 
yesterday in Buffalo. The troops appeared extremely well 
and all equipped. We have been able to bring a little order 
out of confusion, which to be sure was very great when we 
arrived. I this day review the troops at the Rock. 

I have ascertained that no women or female children 
have been butchered in the late affair at X[iagara] and 

The detachment you will please to order on as ex- 
peditiously as possible for it will be absolutely necessary 
to keep at least 2,000 men on the frontier. The enemy make 
considerable movements on the opposite shore, and keep 
strict watch by night, by centinels and patrols. I however 
do not believe they will attempt to cross unless they find our 
force is wasting, which will of course be the case in a few 
days, unless the detachment should supply their places. 

I have the honor to be . 


An order was given Capt. Kellogg to detach so many 
men from any troops in Buffalo as the quartermaster can 
employ in the laboratory in the making of cartridges, etc. 
( haste prevented a copy. ) • 

On the next day the following letter was dispatched by 
one of Gen. Hall's aids-de-camp : 

Buffalo 29th Deer. 1813. 
His Excellency Daniel D. Tompkins, 

Sir: — T am instructed by Mai. den. Hall to enclose you 
a return from the Asst. D. 0. M. Genl at this station, of the 
ordnance and ordnance stores on hand. [ am further in- 
structed to state to your excellency that the forces now on 
the frontier are mostly composed of Volunteers who have 
left their homes under the impression that the tour would be 
short, and cannot be retained, consistently for a long period. 
The force of the enemv, in regulars and Indians, are from 


correct sources ascertained to be about 2,000 of which 800 
are Indians. No doubt can exist in tbe mind of the Major 
Genl. of the determination of tbe enemy to retain possession 
of Ft. Niagara, that they are equally determined on the 
destruction of this part of the frontier, is derived from re- 
cent information direct from the other side. 

The militia of the enemy are ordered out and are now 
collecting, and their boats have been removed up to Chip- 
peway. Under these circumstances, with only 1500 troops 
at this station, and those poorly supplied with ammunition, 
the Major Genl. feels confident that no time will be lost by 
your excellency in forwarding succors of every description. 
The troops however I believe will meet the enemy with 
spirit should they invade our territory. 

The troops of the enemy are commanded by Lieut. Genl. 
Drummond. The expedition against Ft. Niagara was under 
the command of Major Genl. Riall. No officer killed on the 
side of U. S. A. 

In Flaste your Excellency's very Obt Servt 


The following General Orders were promulgated from 
the Headquarters, Buffalo, Dec. 29, 1813: 

"The Major General returns his thanks to the several 
corps of militia under his command on the Niagara frontier, 
as well for their civil deportment and soldier-like conduct 
since arriving on the frontier, as for their patriotism in 
leaving their homes at this inclement season, to meet an 
invading enemy and repel a violence [that] threatened the 
lives, property and safety of their fellow-citizens. Their 
alacrity in riving to arms at the first alarm of danger merits 
and will no doubt receive the thanks of their country. At 
least they will have the consolation of reflecting that they 
have done their duty, although others may have forgotten 

"The Major Genl. cannot too much applaud the martial 
appearance and good conduct of the troops in Buffalo dur- 
ing the review of yesterday, and flatters himself with the 


MILITIA SERVICE OP 1813-18 14. 35 

conviction that, should opportunity present, they will prove 
that their bravery is not exceeded by their patriotism. 

"The General is aware that the troops now on this fron- 
tier, having left their homes at a moment's call, are not 
prepared to remain any considerable length of time. It can- 
not reasonably be expected of them. It is hoped that the 
necessity for their absence from their homes and families 
will be short. A few days will determine it. Detachments 
are making and marching to the frontier. Notice has been 
given to the Governor of our situation, and it is confidently 
expected that adequate provision will in a few days be made, 
to guard our frontier, when the patriotic citizens now in 
service, can return to their families and repose themselves 
in the confidence of safety. 

"The General will not delay for a moment to make 
known to his fellow-soldiers, the period when they may re- 
turn to their homes in safety, until which time he entreats 
their patient endurance of those privations incidental to their 

"The General gives it in strict orders to the several com- 
mandants of corps to restrain all irregular firing. He re- 
quests his fellow-soldiers to bear in mind that Powder and 
Ball are the means of attack and defense, if they waste them 
in idle sport, their continuance on the frontier is w r orse than 

"The several commandants of distinct corps will cause 
this order to be read at the head of their several corps. 

"By order of MAJOR GEXL. HALL. 

"Geo. Hosmer, A-de-C." 

On this same date, Dec. 29th, we find Aid-de-camp 
Norton writing to Capt. Nathan Marvin, conveying Gen. 
Hall's permission for a furlough to his troops until Jan. 
10th, and thanking him for his diligence and zeal in the 
service. On the same day, presumably at a later hour, an- 
other message was sent to Capt. Marvin: — "to inform you 
that by reason of information this moment received, it has 
become necessary to request you will repair without loss 
of time to this place with the company under your com- 



mand." Lieut. Lawrence was also summoned to Buffalo in 
haste, with his force, leaving- Atkinson to keep guard near 
Lewiston. Boughton with twelve men was to patrol the fol- 
lowing night from the mouth of Buffalo Creek to eight 
miles below Black Rock ; and a messenger was sent post 
haste through the woods to Batavia with a request to Isaac 
Spencer, superintendent of the arsenal, "to forward on to 
this place, to the care of Capt. Camp, A. D. Q. M. General, 
who will pay the expense of transportation, 2000 lb. of 
powder and one ton of lead, or such less quantity as you may 
have on hand, together with 3000 Mints," adding, "you will 
be sensible to the importance of this requisition. " Even at 
this strenuous hour, orders emanating from the Buffalo 
headquarters were softened by the word "request." The 
uncertain volunteer militiaman, never very docile under "or- 
ders," was "requested/' praised, and cajoled to do his duty. 
There is no record, in the old manuscripts we are fol- 
lowing, and for obvious reasons, of the disastrous events 
of the next few days. It is matter of familiar record that 
on the evening 'of the 29th, the British left wing, some 800 
regulars and militia and 200 Indians, crossed the Niagara, 
landed below Scajaquada Creek, and took possession of the 
"Sailors' battery." The militia who were ordered by Gen. 
Llall to dislodge them, were thrown into disorder by the first 
fire of the enemy. The forces under Adams and Chapin 
being ordered to carry the battery, they in turn lost heart 
after the first exchange of shots, and ignominiously fled in 
the darkness. At daybreak of the fateful 30th, Gen'. Hall, 
noting the strengthened force of the British and the new 
points occupied by them, attempted a defense on a new 
plan. Col. Blakeslie's Ontario men were to attack the En- 
glish center; Col. Granger with his Indians, and a small 
force of Canadian volunteers under Col. Mallory, were to 
attack the enemy's left wing; while Col. McMahon's regi- 
ment was held in reserve. But so weakened by desertion in 
the night were all the American militia, and so lacking in 
soldierly spirit were many of those who still stood their 
ground, that but a feeble resistance was anywhere made, 
vol. McMahon's corps scattered and craven!}' fled, before 


ever it came under fire. Blakeslie and his men made a gal- 
lant stand, but the odds were too great, and they bad to fall 
back. By this time most of the American forces were dying 
through the woods, in company with or even ahead of the 
terrified villagers, along the road to Williams ville and Ba- 

Xo reproach has ever been put upon Gen. Hall for this 
flight. He had done all possible to hold the invaders in 
check, had shown courage and readiness, but he found the 
raw recruits of the militia a broken reed. 

In the Hall documents, there is nothing bearing date 
after Dec. 29, 1813, until the following: 

Headquarters, Batavia, Jan. 6. 1814. 

The A. D. Q. Master Genl. is directed to cause forty 
thousand rations of bread and meat to be transported from 
Batavia and deposited at or near Forsyth's on the ridge 
road for the use of the troops in that quartet .. 

By order of A. HALL, M. Genl. 

The work of reorganization was promptly taken up by 
Gen. Hall. On the 5th January, a detachment of 1900 men 
was ordered into service. By an order of the 8th these were 
to be formed into two regiments ; a detachment from the 
7th and 24th brigades to form one regiment, under Col. John 
Harris; a detachment from the 38th, 39th, 1st and 6th 
brigades to form another regiment under Col. Hugh W. 
Dobbin ; the whole to form one brigade under Brig. Gen. 
Burnett. The field and staff officers were ordered to report 
at once to Gen. Hall, at Batavia. For some days thereafter. 
Gen. Hall's headquarters were indeterminate. Among his 
early dispatches is the following: 

Head Quarters, Niagara Frontier, Janv. 7, 1814. 

A flag is ordered to proceed by the way of the new state 
road south of Batavia to Buffalo and Black Rock, and there 
to cross over to the Canada shore, for the purpose of land- 
ing in Canada William Dickson [Dixon] Esquire, Barrister 
at law, Joseph Edwards Esquire, Justice of the Peace. Will- 
iam Ross of the Commissariat department, John Baldwin, 


merchant, and John Crooks, merchant, prisoners under safe 
conduct on their parole. Lieut. Col. Walter Greeve of the 
N. Y. S. Artillery and Major James Ganson are assigned to 
bear the flag. 


Geo. Hosmer, A. D. C. 

At the same time a letter was dispatched to Lieut. Gen. 
Drummond of the British forces, in which Gen. Hall wrote : 
"The fortune of war has placed in your power a number of 
our fellow citizens as prisoners of war, these are all citizens 
called into service on the emergency of the moment. Being 
desirous of mitigating as far as is practicable the calamities 
of war — and not doubting but you are influenced by similar 
desires — I have the honor to request, that you will find it in 
conformity with your interests and the claims of humanity, 
to discharge on parole the prisoners in your hands." Three 
days later. Gen. Hall having reestablished his headquarters 
at Batavia, countermanded the order for sending Wm. 
Dixon and his companions back to Canada ; they were 
however ''permitted at their pleasure to return to Cheshire 
in the State of [Massachusetts, where they will report them- 
selves to the agent for prisoners at that place" ; Dixon was 
given a passport to visit Washington. 

From the Batavia headquarters, Gen. Hall undertook to 
dispose his depleted forces as efficiently as possible. Wil- 
son's cavalry were sent out on the Lewiston road. A house 
was taken at Williamsville and the army contractor or- 
dered to deposit there 100,000 complete rations, to keep good 
that deposit, and to issue daily 1500 rations at that place. 
Capt. Ridgeway, at the Canandaigua arsenal, Avas called on 
for 100,000 fixed cartridges for muskets, and 2000 flints. 
Among the dispatches sent on the 10th was the following, 
signed by Aid-de-camp Hosmer : 

Headquarters Batavia, Jany. 10, 18 14. 
[To Lt. Col. Hopkins:] 

Sir: — Yours of instant date ree'd and I am instructed 
by the Major General to offer you his thanks for your in- 
trepidity and bravery displayed in a successful attack on the 

MILITIA SERVICE OE 1813-1814. 31) 

enemies picket on the 8th inst. The General approves of 
vour sending the prisoners to Canandaigua, at the same time 
he would caution you against rashness of enterprise in the 
present weak state of your forces. A detachment of 1900 
men is ordered out, but cannot be expected on the frontier 
under 10 or 12 days at shortest. A supply of arms and am- 
munition has arrived and [ ? at] Canandaigua, and have been 
ordered on to this place, and he flatters himself that our situ- 
ation will in a few days be such as to enable you to present 
an imposing front to the enemy and justify bolder move- 

I have the honor, etc., 

G. H., A. D. C. 

On the 10th, a number of Canadian prisoners who had 
been held at the rendezvous at Canandaigua were dispatched 
in wagons for the cantonment at Greenbush. They were 
members of the First Royal and 100th regiments, and the 
Canadian militia. 

Batavia, Jany. 11, 1814. 
Liel't. Col. Swift, Lt. Col. Hopkins, 

Gext'm : — Your letter advising me of the approach of the 
enemy on your lines I have this moment received. Esquire 
Edy [ ?] to whom you referred me for further particulars re- 
specting the enemy's forces has not arrived, but I have only 
to direct that should you not be able to meet the enemy in 
fair fight, that you give him every annoyance in your power, 
covering your retreat in the best manner your force will 

A company of cavalry left this [place] yesterday morn- 
ing to join your corps. The detached troops that have ar- 
rived at this place have been marched to Williams Yille. 

But a large reinforcement is ordered out, and will very 
soon be in arms, when we shall be able to meet any force the 
enemy can command. 

You will [ ? send] me the earliest information of the 
enemies movements, and of your situation. I shall give you 
every assistance in my power. 

Yours respectfully, 

A. HALL, M. Gen'l. 




N. B. — I shall come out to your cantonment as soon as I 
return from Williams Ville. It mav be two or three davs. 

Headquarters Batavia, Jany. 13, 18 14. 
His Excellency D. D. Tompkins, Governor, 

Sir: — Since my last communication there has not any- 
thing of importance transpired on this frontier, materially 
affecting us. On the 8th inst., a detachment under the com- 
. mand of General John Swift (a volunteer) and Lieut. Col. 
C. Hopkins with a party of about 70 men surprised a party 
of the British who were procuring wood about l / 2 mile from 
the fort, fired upon them killed 4 of the enemy, lost one of 
their own men, and took 8 prisoners ; subsequent to which a 
large force of the enemy were observed to be in motion, 
which induced our troops en that station to fall back 4 or 5 
miles to a more defencible position. The affair ended here, 
all is quiet. 

In consideration of our feeble force, I have cautioned 
the commandant on that station against indulging too much 
in rash enterprises until our reinforcements shall have ar- 
rived, which may be expected here in about 7 or 8 days. I 
have ordered on to the arsenal at this place a sufficient sup- 
ply of arms and ammunition for the forces now on the fron- 
tier, and of those expected soon to arrive, so that I flatter 
myself that within a few days I may be able to pronounce 
this frontier safe against any encroachments of the enemy. 

I regret to add that our loss in killed on the 30th tilt, 
proves to be greater than I had supposed. On repossessing 
the ground, we found that our dead were yet unburied. 
There have been already collected about 50 bodies, and 
probably there are some yet undiscovered in the woods. 
The cannon were not moved by the enemy ( excepting the 
6-pounder), nor are they materially injured. The enemy 
admit their loss in killed and wounded to be 300. 

A practice, for which T am at a loss for precedent has 
prevailed on this frontier. Officers without any regular 
commission at all have been erected majors and colonels by 
brevet commission, filled up from blanks by the commancl- 

MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. 41 

ing general, and in sonic instances by a Brigadier of Militia 
under which they claim rank in the regular service. I can- 
not reconcile it to my sense of propriety or legality to con- 
sider such commissions, otherwise than void, and as not con- 
ferring" any rank. I should be happy to be advised in what 
light I am to consider such appointments, as under present 
impressions I cannot recognise them, nor certify their ac- 
counts to the paymaster. 

Brig. Genl. Cass will be in Albany. I have conversed 
with him on the subject, and he unites with me in opinion as • 
to the inefricacy of such appointments. 

I have the honor to remain, etc. 

A. HALL, M. Genl. 

P. S. — Messrs, Dixon, Ross, Edwards, Baldwin and 
Crooks, citizens of L T . Canada, prisoners of war, have ree'd 
passports from the commissary of prisoners to proceed to 
Canada, their passports were granted anterior to the late 
disturbances and changes on this frontier, I have detained 
them a few days, until our reinforcements shall have got on. 
I should be happy to learn your Excellencies opinion 
whether they should be permitted to pass over at this place. 
I do not myself perceive any serious objection to their being 
permitted to pass. Gen. Dearborn will know the men. 

A. H., M. Genl. 

Head Quarters Bat a via, Jan. 14, 18 14. 
Major Riddle, 

Sir : — You are directed to march the regular troops under 
your command towards Buffalo; you will station yourself 
at or near Major Millars, wherever you can find convenient 
quarters for your forces. You will keep a patroll from your 
camp to Buffalo and Black Rock, and will report yourself to 
Brig. Gen. Hopkins, commanding at Williamsville, -whose 
orders you will respect. In your march you will keep your 
men embodied and subject to orders. Circumstances require 
that your march be commenced very early tomorrow morn- 
ing and conducted with expedition. Should you discover 



any movements of the enemy causing an alarm, you wil 
communicate the intelligence to ( ien. Hopkins. 
By order, etc. 

G. H., A. D. C. 

Batavia, Jan. 14, 18 14. 
His Ex. Gov. Tompkins: 

Sir : — I have nothing to communicate worth remark since 
my letter of yesterday of a general nature. Everything re- 
mains quiet at present on this frontier. 

There is one thing I omitted to mention (I believe) in 
my last, which is of much consequence. There is no camp 
equipage, or next to none, for the troops already in service, 
and the O. Master's department give but little encourage- 
ment of any being provided. Tt will be impossible for the 
troops to continue service without something to [ ? live] on. 
The detachment now making of 1900 men, will want at 
least 300 camp kettles. I know not how they are to be ob- 
tained — they are not in the country. I am in hopes there 
have been some found provided and will arrive. Col. 
Lambe will be able to give you the particulars of our situa- 
tion more fully than I can write. 

I have the honor to be, etc., A. HALL. 

Head Quarters, Batavia, Jan. 15, 1814. 
Sir: — I am directed to reply to your communication, to 
say that the Major General cannot recognise Col. Alallory 
as an officer in the U. State service his brevet not having 
eminated from a legitimate source, nor being predicated 
upon any prior regular commission. The case has been 
communicated to his Exc'y the commander in chief, for his 
direction and advice. At present you are , considered the 
senior commanding officer of that corps. It Is not a little 
singular that two, and these all, the commissioned officers 
in the regular service on this frontier, should be stationed 
at one recruiting rendezvous, and no one should be left to 
command the troop on detachment, it is desirable that you 
will adjust the difficulty with Capt. Scott, so that some one 


MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. 43 

may take command of the troops, and that in the mean time 
there he no delay in marching the troops to the station as- 
signed them where they can alone, he of any service to the 

I am, sir, etc., 


On Jan. 18th, among other orders, was one dismissing 
from further service the cavalry and mounted infantry, with 
the exception of Capts. Marvin's and Wilson's company, and 
a guard under Lieut. Abby. Gen. Hall returned his thanks, 
to officers and privates alike, "for their alacrity in turning 
out at this inclement season at the call of their country, 
their prompt obedience of orders, their general good con- 
duct in camp and bravery evinced in the field." The same 
day the following letter was dispatched. It bears no ad- 
dress, but was apparently sent to Major General David 
Mead, commanding the militia at Erie : 

Headquarters, Batayia, Jan. 18, 18 14. 

Sir : — Yours of the nth inst., enclosed in a letter from Lt. 
Elliott of the 14th was ree'd on the 17th at evening. I am 
happy to learn that you are on your guard against supposed 
movements of the enemy threatening Erie and the fleet sta- 
tioned in that harbor, and at the same time regret that it will 
not be in my power. to lend you any material aid in the event 
of an attack. The forces under my command are small, and 
barely sufficient for covering the frontier, and quieting the 
apprehensions of the inhabitants. Large detachments, and 
these frequent, have been made from my division, and the 
militia in the quarter are now exceedingly harrassed with 
duty. I shall take care to appraise you by express of any 
information that may be in my possession relative to the 
enemies movements, which may be material for you to know. 
As at present advised I think there is some reason to appre- 
hend an attack on your post, should the ice become suf- 
ficiently strong, and your post not be strongly guarded. 

I presume you have through your executive, or directly, 
communicated to the Sec'y at War your situation and that 
thereby the Government are possessed of a knowledge of the 



critical situation in which you are placed. It would give me 
great pleasure to have such a force under my command as 
would enable me to cooperate with you in the meditated plan 
of defense and attack, without at the same time exposing the 
frontier to further devastation. 

I beg you will show this to Lieut. Elliott, who will see 
in it an answer to his communication, and that you will at 
the same time assure him of my respect and esteem. 
I have the honor, etc., 

A. HALL, M. Genl., 
Com'g on Niagara Frontier. 


Head Quarters, Batavia, Jan'y 20, 18 14. 

The detachment of militia from the 7th, 38th and 6th 
Brigades will be organized into companies of roo men each, 
officers inclusive. Brig. Gen. will cause them to be mustered 
by Major Riddle, who is appointed to that duty. As socn 
as the muster is completed, the men will be furnished with 
arms, etc., and camp equipage. They will march under the 
direction of the officers of companies to the cantonment 
quarters of Gen. J. Swift on the Ridge Road near Lewiston, 
where they will report themselves to the commanding of- 
ficer on that station. 

The officers commanding companies will be held re- 
sponsible for damages done by their soldiers on the march, 
and they are strictly charged to keep their men in order, and 
not suffer any of them to leave their places in the ranks 
without permission. Every attention will be paid by the 
officers to the men, they will see that their quarters are the 
best that can be provided while on the march. The practice 
of disorder by tiring, which has been a subject of much 
complaint and is seriously to be regretted, by militia here- 
tofore called into service from the good conduct and or- 
derly appearance of the present detachment the Major Gen- 
eral flatters himself will in no instance happen. One corn- 
pan}- of the detachment from the 24th and 39th Brigades will 

MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. 45 

be supplied with arms, etc., and commence as soon as they 
have been mustered for Williams Ville under the direction 
of the commanding officer of the company who will be ac- 
countable for the orderly and good conduct of the men, they 
will not be suffered to stroll, but will march in order. The 
captain will report himself and company at the command- 
ing officer at Williams Ville on his arrival. 

A. HALL. Maj. Gen., 
Comm'dg Niagara Frontier. 

Headquarters, Batavia, Jan. 21st, 1814. 

By permission of the High Sheriff of Genesee County, 
a room in the Gaol of said county is to be the provost 
Guard House at this station, and Capt. X. Marvin will fur- 
nish a corporal and four men for provost Guards. The 

provost guard will take into custody Burgess, 

charged with holding correspondence with the enemy, and 
keep him safely until further orders. 

By order of MAJ. GEX. A. HALL. 

William H. Adams, Acting A. D. C. 

Batavia, Jan. 21st, 18 14. 
Major Gex'l Mead: 

Sir : — This will accompany my letter in answer to yours 
of the nth inst. I was not informed until last evening that 
the express who brought your letter was waiting for an 
answer. I was at that time on the northern part of the fron- 
tier and your express came no further than Williamsville. I 
had ordered an express to go through to Erie to start this 
morning but shall send this by your express. 

I have nothing new to inform you of respecting the 
movements of the enemy nor can I ascertain to my satis- 
faction whether their main force is gone on any secret ex- 
pedition or not. The following is the latest and T believe 
the most correct account .to be obtained [a break in the 
MS.] except the forces said to be above Chippewa com'd'g 
the navy at Erie stating their apprehensions of an attack at 


Head Quarters, Batavia, Jan. 23, 18 14. 
Lt. Col. Jno. Harris will proceed to Hard Scrabble^ to 
the cantonment now occupied by the troops under the com- 
mand of Col. Swift, and take charge of the detachment to 
the command of which he was assigned by Division Orders 
of the 8th inst. Marched and marching to there [their] 

* On the Salmon River, near what is now Fort Covington, Franklin Co., X. Y. 

t This letter is printed as it is in the manuscript. It Tias no signature and 
is obviously incomplete. There is also, it would seem, a considerable loss at 
the point where a break is indicated, the part before it being on one sheet, that 
which follows on another. It is even possible that the two portions are parts 
of different letters. 

% A camp on the Ridge Road about midway between Williamsville and 


the latter place as soon as the ice becomes sufficiently strong 
to pass over which generally happens by the 10th of Feby. 
They have requested me to co-operate with them by station- 
ing my force at Chatauque. In answer I have been obliged 
to state that my force on this station will be small and 
hardly sufficient to guard the frontier and quiet the fears 
of the Inhabitants. My force may be calculated as follows : 
First detachment of 1.000 men at 600; second detachment 
of 1900 say 1000, possibly 1200, making at most 1800 men; 
this force will be stationed at Williams Ville and near 
Lewistown, and nearly equally divided. There are about 
150 regulars (such as they are) on this frontier without of- 
ficers except a Lieut. Riddle, who I am informed by himself 
is ordered to superintend the recruiting service at this place. 
Major Malcomb arrived this evening with orders from Genl. 
Wilkinson for those troops to join their several regiments 
at French Mills," etc. The second detachment of militia is 
coming in daily and as fast as they can be organized march 
on to W. Mile and the cantonment near Lewistown. There 
being neither axes nor camp kettles in the O. Master's de- 
partment I have been obliged to order a partial supply to 
be purchased by the A. D. O. M. Gen. at this place until a 
supply shall arrive from Albany which I hope may be soon 
or the troops will suffer exceedingly. f 


station the troops under the command of Lt. Col. Harris 
will be quartered in as compact a manner as the nature of 
the ground and the present barracks will admit, and Col. 
Harris will make the proper provision for quarters by build- 
ing huts as soon as may be. Lt. Col. Harris being on the 
exterior post will be vigilant in providing against surprise 
by sending patrols to Lewiston, by keeping a picquet at 
Hustlers and such other place and places as his discretion 
shall direct, and by causing patrols to Schlosser, Manchester, 
and as near the enemy as he may deem practicable. The 
strictest attention will be paid to the comfort and conveni- 
ence of the men, to the preservation of their arms, etc. Xo 
parties will be allowed to sally out or stroll from the camp, 
nor will any scouts be suffered but by the particular order of 
the commanding officer. The commanding officers of com- 
panies will be held responsible for the safe keeping of the 
arms, accoutrements and ammunition and see that no waste 
be committed. Morning reports will be required. Some 
house in the rear must be assigned as a hospital and par- 
ticular attention paid to the sick. The commanding officer 
will pay attention to provision returns and see that they cor- 
respond with morning reports. 

From the talents and experience of Col. Harris the 
Major General has the strongest confidence that the im- 
portant post to the command of which he is assigned will 
be well secured and that the regulation and discipline of the 
troops will be such as to reflect honor on the officers and 

Bv order, etc. WILLIAM H. ADAMS, A. D. C. 

Head Quarters, Batavia, Jan. 23, 18 14. 
Brigr. Genl. Burnett will repair to the cantonment at 
Williams Yille (Eleven Mile Creek) and take command of 
the troops on that station and in the vicinity. Genl. Burnett 
will cause the detachment under his command to be quar- 
tered in the barracks already existing at that cantonment as 
far as those barracks will accommodate them, and as near 
as may be. Should there not be a sufficient number of huts 


Batavia, Jan. 24, 1814. 
General Swift, 

Sir: — I have this moment received your letter of 8 
o'clock last evening. I regret very much that yon have not 
a force equal not only to meet but to hunt the enemy back 
to the fort. There are four companies of 100 men each on 
the way to your relief, one of which mnst undoubtedly ar- 
rive this morning, another in the course of this day, prob- 
ably two. That will give you a handsome reinforcement. 
One other company will march today and Col. Harris will 
move this morning. They are all well equipped. I have no 
doubt yon will do every thing to repel the enemy should they 
attempt to attack you that your force would justify. Your 
judgment will direct your immediate operations. I have 

to accommodate the whole detachment no time is to be lost 
in building, taking care that the troops are quartered in a 
compact and regular manner. Genl. Burnett will be vigilant 
in providing against surprise by causing picquets, patrols, 
etc., at such places and in such directions as his discretion 
shall direct. Xo troops are to be stationed in advance of the 
cantonment but by detachment, and the countersign, etc., 
will emanate from cantonment quarters. Xo men will be al- 
lowed to stroll from camp nor any scouts be suffered but 
by particular orders of the commanding officer. The com- 
mandants of companies will be responsible for the arms, 
accoutrements and ammunition of the men and see that no 
waste be committed. 

The zeal of Brigr. Genl. Burnett in the defence of our 
common country as well as the promptitude and decision 
which has characterized him in the detachment and organi- 
zation of the troops are a sure pledge to the Major General 
that the cantonment committed to his charge and the troops 
under his command will be in such a state of regularity and 
efficiency as to answer the expectations of an anxious and 
exposed country. 

By order, etc., 

WILLIAM H. ADAMS, Acting A. D. C. 


to request that you would stay with Capt. Harris a few days 
after his arrival if possible, you will be of great service to 

Wishing you success I conclude and am, Sir, your most 
humble Svt., A. HALL, <VL Genl. 

James Fox, of the 8th Kind's Regiment, a deserter from 
Fort Niagara, was examined, apparently at Gen. Hall's 
headquarters at Batavia. on Jan. 26, 1814. He said he had 
left Fort Niagara on the 20th, and that when he came away 
there were 700 effective men in the fort, besides 70 or So 
artillerists. 'They have wood for three months; Col. 
Youngs commands, Col. Hamilton is expected to relieve 
him. An expedition to Erie is commonly talked of, in the 
army, among the officers. Watteville's German legion are 
expected up." Fox gave the British force as follows : The 
King's Regiment [the 8th], 500; 41st, 600; 1st Royal Scots, 
700; 100th Regt., 500; one company of the 89th, 80: of 
the marine artillery, 80 ; one company negroes, 100 : artil- 
lery, 80; dragoons, 100; in all, 2740. "No Indians at pres- 
ent to be seen." 

On Jan. 31st, Gen. Hall's headquarters were established 
at Williamsville. The next day he sent his special thanks 
to Brig. Gen. Burnett, Lt. Cols. Davis and Colt and the of- 
ficers generally "for their exertions in regulating the canton- 
ment, building and repairing huts, and their indefatigable 
exertions to render the situation of the soldiers as comfort- 
able as possible." After extending his commendations to 
the soldiers generally for their good conduct and fine appear- 
ance on parade, he added: "There are however some who 
lost to every sense of duty and the honor of soldiers, have 
deserted the service to which their country had called them. 
Such merit the contempt of all good soldiers, and will meet 
the punishment due to their crimes." And he concluded 
with the oft-repeated regret that he had not been able to fur- 
nish necessary camp equipage, etc. 

Two days later he wrote as follows to the Chief Execu- 
tive of the State: 


Williams Villi-:, Feby. 2d, 1814. 
His Exv. Governor Tompkins, 

Sir: — The detachment of Militia from my Division has 
been organized into companies of 100 men each and are 
now at this place and near Lewiston, amounting to 1100 
only. The requisition was for 1900. This statement will 
show your Excellency the impossibility of filling a requisi- 
tion, and at the present time it is more difficult than usual on 
account of the harassed state of the western part of my 
division. I have not been able to discover any late move- 
ments of the enemy, but believe a part of their force is gone 
on a secret expedition. I have been apprehensive for De- 
troit but an officer who arrived this day from Gen. Mead's 
army at Erie assures me that our strength at that place is 
sufficient to repel any force the enemy can bring against it. 
I sincerely hope he may not be deceived. The troops under 
my command are healthy though badly furnished with camp 
equipage, there is not a camp kettle, not [a] tin pan to 
twenty men. I have been anxiously expecting the arrival of 
those necessary articles for the use of the troops, but have as 
yet been disappointed. I have this day rec'd letters from 
Maj. Gen. Mead stationed at Erie, who states that his force 
is now very respectable. He is of opinion that he could give 
a good account of the Enemy should he attempt to disturb 
him, tho' he still wishes a cooperation of my force in case of 
an attack. I have written your Excy several letters since I 
have had the honor of receiving any from you. I trust your 
letters must have been detained or that your other engage- 
ments have engrossed so much of your time that you have 
not had leisure to answer mine. 

I have the honor to be Yr Excv's most obt. humble sev't, 


On the same day [Feb. 2] in a letter which bears no ad- 
dress, but was, it may be presumed, addressed to Gen. Mead, 
he wrote: "I shall immediately establish my line of ex- 
presses to meet and cooperate with yours agreeable to my 
former proposal. . . ... It gives me great pleasure to 

be informed of the improvement of your militia, and should 


MILITIA SERVICE OF iS 13-18 14. 51 

the enemy have the temerity to visit your post I will not 
permit myself to doubt but it will end in his total overthrow. 
Permit me to give you a sketch of the British force from 
the recent information: Present force, 8th King's, 500; 
41st King's, 600; 1st Royals, 700; 100th, 500; 1st light 
company, 80 ; marine artillery, 80 ; 1 company black corps, 
100; 1 Co. H[eavy] artillery, 80; 1 Co. dragoons, 80; 
[total] 2740. Watteville's legion German troops are ex- 
pected up soon. Indian force. Six Nations, 400; Western 
Indians 1000 — 1400. I refer you to Capt. Atkinson for 
further particulars." 

Wms Ville, Feby. 6th, 18 14. 
Capt. Chase, 

Sir : — I was not a little surprised on receiving your let- 
ler (dated Geneva Febry. 3d by the hand of Air. Gallaway) 
stating that you could get no men to volunteer, and come on 
to the frontier with you — the more especially after the state- 
ment you made to me at Batavia. I am now however satis- 
fied that I was deceived, and by your own statement I am 
not to expect any assistance through you. I have to regret 
that the public money should have been so misapplied. At 
the same time you will permit me to observe, that you will 
be required to acct. ror the monies you reed from the Or 
Master's department. 

I have no further orders to give. But find I shall be 
necessitated to call on some other company. 
Yours respectfully, 

A. HALL, M. Genl. Comde. 

Head Quarters, Williams Ville, Feby. 17th, 18 14. 

The companies of Volunteers under the command of 
Capts. Hull & S[t]one in public service will be consolidated 
and placed under the command of Capt. William Hull, to 
whom is attached Lieut. James Chapin and Ensign Flarris 
Hibbard. Captn Hull will march with all convenient dis- 
patch to Lerches [ ?] Ferry on the Buffalo Creek and keep 


such a guard from thence toward Buffalo as the number 
of his corps will warrant, subject to the orders of the officer 
of the day. He will make returns to the commanding officer 
on the Niagara Frontier. 
By order, etc., 


A communication from Gen. Hall to Capt. Stone, written 
the same day as the above, informed him that his company 
was consolidated with Capt. Hull's for "the public good." 
"The Major General," Hall wrote, "has no power to place 
any in command but such as are regularly in commission 
in the Militia of this State. The Volunteers heretofore under 
your command will be assured their rations and pay, in case 
they place themselves under the command of the officers 
selected to command the consolidated company." 

Head Quarters, William sville, Feby. 17, 18.14. 
To His Excellency the Governor, 

Sir: — I feel it my duty to communicate for the informa- 
tion of your Excellency some circumstances necessary to be 
known, and which it is thought will require your early at- 
tention, and probably the cooperating aid of the Legislature. 

In the first moment of alarm on this frontier ; for the 
purpose of defense, and to supply present deficiencies, arms 
and ammunition were provided by any means, wherever the}" 
were to be had, of individuals or otherwise. The ammuni- 
tion has in part been paid for on a requisition, by the 
Q. Masters department of the U. States, but the arms pur- 
chased have not been, nor is there any probability that they 
will be paid for by the U. States. Those arms have been 
appropriated to the use of the State, and have been turned 
into the public arsenals, the individuals of whom they were 
purchased, remain to be paid, and are men who cannot with- 
out inconvenience remain unremunerated. These purchases 
were chiefly made on the authority of Lt. Colo. Davis, and 
although the proceeding was not strictly warranted by law 
or usage, vet it is presumed your excellency will perceive 
in the correctness of the motive a fair claim on the State au- 



thority for an assumption of such contracts. The sum 
requisite to cover such purchases will probably amount to 
10 or 1200 Dollars. 

Your Excellency will recollect that immediately after my 
assuming- the command on this frontier a representation 
was made of the destitute situation of our troops as to arms 
and military stores — an event naturally resulting from the 
loss of the great depot of the munitions of war. Fort Niag- 
ara ; as well as the other contingent losses of war. This 
representation received prompt attention, and a supply it is 
understood was ordered on to the frontier. It would have 
relieved me from much embarrassment, had there have ac- 
companied the arms, etc., a bill of them. But learning that 
they had arrived at Canandaigua, and were placed under 
the care of Captain Ridge way a U. S. officer, an order was 
given to remove them to Batavia. The arms have chiefly 
been delivered out, it is matter of regret that there should 
have been so great deficiency of cartouch boxes — a very con- 
siderable number of the arms were unsupplied in this par- 
ticular. The importance will readily be perceived of sup- 
plying this deficiency. Of ammunition and Mints there is a 
sufficiency for the present. 

The camp kettles and pans so much desired have been 
received and distributed by the O. M. of Brigade., under the 
supposition that it was the property of the State. 

1 flatter myself that your Excellency will lose no time in 
ordering detachments of troops from other divisions into 
service to relieve those at present here. On" this so mo- 
mentous a subject it is earnestly hoped that there may be 
no delay, the whole number now on this frontier do not ex- 
ceed iSoo men, and the terms of the militia of the 1st de- 
tachment called for on the requisition of the War Depart- 
ment will expire as soon as new troops can be got out. 
Those of the 2d detachment having been ordered out under 
the State authority it cannot be thought reasonable should be 
much longer detained. The harassing duties of the 7th 
division, call loudly for consideration, and it is hoped that 
those citizens more happily situated will commiserate and 
relieve them. 

Head Quarters, William sville, Feby. 19, 1814. 
Lieut. Colo. Mallory, 

Sir : — I have the honor to inform you by direction of M. 
General Hall, that an answer from his Excellency the Gov- 
ernor has just been rec'cl to the letter of the General request- 
ing to be informed "in what light he should consider ap- 
pointments circumstanced as is yours and the officers of 
your corps," to which His Excellency has been pleased to 
reply in the following words : 

"With respect to the brevet commissions of which you 
spoke in a former letter, I have written to Genl. Wilkinson 
and he returns for answer that they were given for a tem- 
porary purpose and are not now to be regarded as giving 
their possessors rank or pay." 

The General deemed it due to you and the officers of 
your corps to communicate thus early the opinion which his 



From recent information the enemy are undoubtedly in 
considerable force near this frontier, and adequate security 
cannot be afforded without considerable addition to the num- 
bers now in service. 

There is another subject I am constrained to press upon 
your Excellencies attention ; the troops which have been and 
are now in service under the State authority have only the 
promise of pay expressed on the Statute book, but it is not 
known that any appropriations are made by law for their 
pay, nor is it known that the District Pay-master of the 
armies of the U. States will feel authorized to pay such 
troops without express orders from the War Department. 
Some uneasiness has already been manifested on this sub- 
ject, and it would afford me much satisfaction to be in- 
formed by your Excellency as to what answer I can give to 
those who may inquire of me respecting their pay and the 
means which may be provided. A satisfactory assurance on 
this subject may be of important service. 

I have the honor to be your Excellencies most obedient 
and humble servt. A. HALL. 


Excellency the commander in chief entertains of your rank 
and claims. 

I have the honor to be, etc., 


A curious feature of the YYilliamsville camp was the 
courts-martial. It is evident that the men were hard to re- 
strain and keep up to service requirements. Corporal Will- 
iam Smith, for firing his gun without orders, and for direct- 
ing others to do so, by which a false alarm was occasioned, 
was put in the guard-house on half rations. Peter Brown. 
private, found guilty of desertion, was sentenced to the loss * 
of half a month's pay. The loss of a month's or half a 
month's pay was the most frequent punishment inflicted for 
the most frequent of offenses, desertion ; but the leniency 
was no doubt in many cases due to youth. Thus Private 
John Lockwood was docked only half a month's pay, 
he being under the age of 18 years. The same of- 
fense however, committed by Private John Bowerman 
brought forth an order for stoppage of half a month's pay, 
and that he should sit in stocks two hours on the public 
parade: but Major Gen. Hall, "considering the severity of 
the weather, orders the execution of that part of the sentence 
which requires the prisoner to sit in the stocks suspended 
during his good behaviour." For being drunk, while on 
guard, Private Cyrus Angell was deprived of half a month's 
rations of whiskey, and ordered "to march from right to 
left in front of the Brigade, having his arms extended and 
lashed to a live-feet pole, with a bottle in each hand, one of 
which is to be empty and the other filled." This sentence 
was carried out at the evening roll-call, while the Major 
General reminded his soldiers that "the law martial makes 
the crime of drunkenness in a centre punishable with death 
or such other punishment as a general court martial shall 
inflict. The ignominious punishment," he added, "now to be 
inflicted in presence of the whole brigade the Major General 
flatters himself will be a sufficient admonition to others, and 
trusts that the crime will not again be committed during this 


campaign." For disorderly conduct. Private Richard F. 
Read was required "to march from right to left of the regi- 
ment with his hat under his arm, to kneel to his captain 
and ask his forgiveness." Benjamin Wilber, for desertion, 
was sentenced "to sutler the stoppage of half a month's pay, 
to stand in the stocks in front of the regiment two hours 
upon the public parade ground for two days in succession 
one hour in each day, and to undergo five days' hard labor 
wearing at the same time a clog of four pounds weight fas- 
tened to one leg." And once more the Major General "re- 
grets that any soldier should be found capable of the in- 
famous crime of desertion, especially when the present situa- 
tion of his country and every motive that should actuate a 
good citizen form so strong a claim to the faithful and zeal- 
ous performance of his duty" ; and once more he "Hatters 
himself that the examples made of those who have deserted 
will prevent others from committing this crime, and thereby 
preclude the necessity of resorting to the punishment of 
death ; a punishment which though it is severe is no more 
than equal to the enormity of this offense." Another de- 
serter was punished by the stoppage of a month's pay and 
the requirement "to cut up two stumps close by the roots on 
the public parade ground, such as the Col. shall designate." 
This was better than the sentence meted out a few days later 
to another deserter, who was deprived of all pay, and made 
"to march from right to left through the ranks of the Brig- 
ade and then from left to right in front of the same with his 
hat off and hands tied behind him, followed by music play- 
ing the Rogues' March ; to sit an hour straddle of one of the 
cannons when the same is mounted with a label posted on his 
hat crown in front with this inscription in large letters, viz., 
'I became a Substitute fur Speculation and am now punished 
for desertion," and at the expiration of the hour to be 
drummed out of camp." This was done. March 31st at 11 

o'clock, and was the most ignominious punishment inflicted 
at all of the many courts-martial in that winter's camp on 
the Eleven-Mile Creek. It is probable that desertion had be- 
come such an evil that Gen. Hall was constrained to resort 
to a harsher punishment than was his wont, notwithstanding 

MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. 57 

that the term of enlistment of most of the men was just ex- 

The following General Order was promulgated at the 
Williamsville Headquarters, Feb. 21, 18 14: 

"The different members of the late eorps of Upper Can- 
ada Volunteers will deliver the arms and equipments in their 
possession belonging- to the public to the Brigade Quarter 
Master Maj. Staunton. They will be entitled to draw ra- 
tions as Canadian sufferers or refugees from U. Canada. 
They together with all Canadian eitizens are required to fall 
back of the Cantonment at Williams Mile unless the able- 
bodied men shall choose to attach themselves to the company 
of Volunteer militia under the command of Capt. Hull." 

The winter wore away, with but little to disturb the 
camp, and no actual lighting. There was routine duty, as 
strictly maintained as possible ; undoubted diversion in the 
-execution of the court-martial sentences ; and both sickness 
and desertion to worry the devoted general. On March 
20th, their term of service being about to expire. Gen. Hall 
directed the discharge of the regiment of detached militia 
under Lt. Col. Davis, in the following order : Capt. Kelsey's 
company to be discharged on the 21st, Capt. Matteson's on 
the 22d, and the remaining companies on the 24th, the 
Major General giving them all a cordial farewell, with 
thanks for their service and good wishes for their future. 
On the 22(1, Lt. Williams was sent across the Niagara with 
a flag of truce, to receive some wounded prisoners of war, 
who were to be delivered up at the ferry house. On the 
25th, certain guards that had been regularly posted "at the 
north, east and south openings," were ordered discontinued. 
On the 28th, Brig.-Gen. Burnett was directed to consolidate 
several parts of companies belonging to the regiment of de- 
tached militia under the command of Lt. Col. Avery Smith, 
to be consolidated into companies of 100 men each, dis- 
charging the supernumerary and non-commissioned officers. 

On April 6th a general review and inspection were held. 
Two days later orders were issued for the discharge from 
service of the regiments commanded bv Lt. Col. Harris and 


Lt. Col. Dobbins. In the latter's regiment, the men were to 
be dismissed as follows: On Saturday, Apr. 9th, the com- 
panies commanded by Capts. Campbell and Bronson ; on 
Sunday the 10th, those commanded by Capts. Spencer and 
' Dunn; and on Monday the iith, those commanded by 
Capts. Woodworth and Swan. In the general orders direct- 
ing this disbandment Gen. Hall wrote : 

"It is a subject of much regret that those who have left 
their employments and the endearments of domestic life for 
the defense of the State in the most inclement season of the 
year should not meet that pecuniar}' reward which the laws 
of our country allow them and which they had every reason 
to expect from the Government. The Major General assures 
the officers and men that he has not omitted to give season- 
able information respecting the situation and demands of 
the troops under his command, and to request an early at- 
tention to their just claims with as much earnestness and 
plainness as was consistent with the respect due to superiors. 
His exertions shall be continued to procure justice for his 
fellow citizens who established so good claims to his respect 
and the gratitude of their country. A consciousness of hav- 
ing discharged their duty as good citizens and the best 
wishes of the Major General for their future prosperity and 
happiness accompany each officer and soldier of these meri- 
torious corps to their homes.'" 

On the 10th, Lt. Whitaker was ordered to march his de- 
tachment of cavalry to the Williamsville cantonment, to be 
mustered preliminary to immediate discharge, and the com- 
mandants of companies were ordered to turn over the arms, 
accoutrements, camp equipage, etc., to the quarter-master 
general. The following, "after General Orders," issued at 
the Williamsville headquarters, Apr. 10th, is the last of the 
Amos Hall MSS. in the collection under notice relating to 
the militia service on the Xiagara : 

"The arrival of some battalions of United States troops 
enables the Major General to discharge the regiment of de- 
tached militia commanded by Lt. Col. Smith on Monday the 
'nth inst. Col. Smith will cause the several companies to be 
mustered preparatory to their discharge, as well as the held 

MILITIA SERVICE OF 1813-1814. Ud~U s 

and staff officers of his regiment. The Major General re- 
quests the officers and men composing this regiment to ac- 
cept his thanks for the promptitude with which the}' left 
their homes for the defense of their state, and for their zeal 
and good conduct since their arrival. He regrets that they 
are obliged to return to their homes without their wages, 
and assures them his best exertions shall be used to secure 
to them the reward of their patriotism."' 

Note.— A long letter from Maj.-Gen. Hall to Gov. Tompkins, elated 
"Headquarters, Niagara Frontier, Jan. 6th, 181 4" is printed in Ketchum's 
History of Buffalo, Vol. II., Appendix, pp. 392-396. This letter, not included 
in the foregoing collection, gives an account of the principal occurrences on 
the frontier from Dec. 22d to 30th, 1813. Of prime importance, it is as there 
printed easy of access and need not be reprinted here. In Cruikshank's Docu- 
mentary History of the Campaign on the Niagara Frontier in 1S14 are reprinted 
from the Buffalo Gazette of Aug. 30, 1814, Division Orders issued by Gen. 
Hall at Bloomaeld, Aug. 226.. Cruikshank's Documentary History, Part III., 
relating to the campaign of 1812, contains several of Gen. Hall's letters and 
reports of that year. Others are perhaps preserved with the MSS. of Governor 
Tompkins at Albany; though the volume {Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins 
Military. Vol. Li edited by Hugh Hastings, State Historian, and 
published by the State in 189S, contains no letters from Gen. Hall. Its record 
of orders sent to him. and numerous incidental references, will, however, be 
found useful to the student. 






I was a sergeant in a militia company in the autumn of 
1 81 2 and stationed on Niagara River. On the night of the 
capture of the two British vessels, the brig Hunter and the 
schooner Caledonia, :;: I was on my way to Buffalo, and spent 
the night at the Dayton farm, three miles below Black Rock. 
The flash of the guns were distinctly seen. I started at early 
dawn in great haste to ascertain the cause of the firing. As 
I came up opposite the British batteries and at the house, I 
think, of Air. Sibley, I saw several men in care of an officer. 
I at once recognized Major William Howe Cuyler, aide to 
Maj.-Gen. Mall, commanding officer at Buffalo. 

At the sound of the firing he had mounted his horse and 
rode down the river with a lighted lantern in his hand, as I 
was told, and when in range of their guns was shot through 
the body, and his wrist was broken by grape shot. Thus 

* Oct. 9, iSu. Lossing says Maj. Cuyler was killed by the first shot from 
the living artillery, after the capture of the vessels. bee Field Book of the 
War of JS12, i>. 387.. 





The following letters were written by Patriek McDonogh, 
lieutenant in the Second Artillery, United States Army, 
Avhose service on the Niagara frontier during the War of 
1812 was brilliant and effective. A peculiar interest has al- 
ways attached to McDonogh's memory because of his gal- 
lantry at Fort Erie in repelling the assault of the British, 
August 15, 1814, and because of the oft-repeated assertion 
that it was he who, though mortally wounded, blew up the 
northeast bastion, and by this sudden slaughter of the at- 
tacking force, saved the day for the Americans, or at any 
rate hastened the abandonment of the assault by the British. 
The evidence bearing on Lieutenant McDonogh's part in 
the affair is by no means conclusive : though his latest and 
perhaps most painstaking biographer, Miss Isabel M. 
O'Reilly, having brought together all available data on the 
subject, shows that the story is in a high degree probable.* 

* Miss O'Reilly, a corresponding member of the Buffalo Historical Society, 
■contributed to the Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of 
Philadelphia, an article entitled One of Philadelphia's Soldiers in the War 
of iSu, in which she sketched the career of Lieut. McDonogh, so far as 
known, quoted from various documentary and published sources, statements 
bearing on his part at Fort Erie, and published for the first time, in the 
Society's Quarterly for December, 1901, and March, 1902, the McDonogh let- 
ters which, by kind permission of Miss O'Reilly and the American Catholic 
Historical Society, are reprinted in the present volume. Our introductory notes 
•arc in part summarized from Miss O'Reilly's article. 


Patrick McDonogh was horn in Dublin, about the year 
1786. It was, apparently, in iy ( )j that his parents with their 
four children, came to America, where after short sojourns 
in Xew York and Baltimore they removed to Philadelphia, 
which became the permanent home of the family. When 
war with England was declared in June, 1812, young 
McDonogh, with several companions from Philadelphia, 
very promptly hastened to Washington and procured com- 
missions in the regular arm v. Nearly all that is known of 
his life during the next year and a half is what is contained 
in the letters that follow, preserved by his sister Anne, to 
whom some of them were addressed. The earliest of the 
letters is dated at the rendezvous, Trenton, June 26, 181 2 — 
only eight days after President Madison signed the declara- 
tion of war — and the latest document in the collection, an 
order addressed to Lieut. McDonogh at Ft. Mirlin, is dated 
Jan. 19, 18 14. Nothing has yet been found, after that date, 
either in letters, official papers or the family annals, to tell of 
his subsequent movements until the following August. The 
presumption is that shortly after the order of Jan. 19th, re- 
lieving him from duty as recruiting officer at Philadelphia, 
he rejoined his regiment on the Xiagara. The brigade to 
which he was attached shared in the battles of Chippewa 
and Lundy's Lane ( or Bridgewater ), and in the reports 
receives frequent mention for gallantry, but no individual 
mention is made of McDonogh. The English garrison at 
Fort Erie capitulated on July 3d. Major-Gen. Jacob Brown 
placed Lieut. McDonogh and a small garrison in charge of 
the fort, which McDonogh did much to strengthen, deepen- 
ing the ditches and raising the bastions. "He also took out 
the line of pickets on the west flank and began the con- 
struction of a redoubt to protect the bastions." * Without 
going at length into the familiar story of the British assault 
and siege, it is well to call attention to the part which, ac- 
cording to official and other reports, Lieut. McDonogh bore 
in the events culminating in the explosion. The assault took 
place at two o'clock on the morning of the 15th of August. 

* T.abcock's The Siege of Fort Eric, pp. .25. ^- 


Some account of Lieut. McDonoglrs participation in the 
early part of the action is found in a pamphlet published 
some years after to advance the political interests of John 
G. Watmough, who, like McDonog'h, was a lieutenant in a 
company commanded by Capt. Alexander J. ^Yilliams. The 
Watmough pamphlet says : 

"The night of the 15th of August was fixed by the 
British for their final attack. It was dark and rainy and 
every way calculated to promote the success of the assail- 
ants. . . . The attack was made at various points by 
three heavy columns of choice troops, led by most dis- 
tinguished officers and sustained by a heavy reserve and a 
body of 700 or 800 Indians. . . . The American of- 
ficer who commanded the picket guards in our front was 
young and entirely inexperienced — he had joined the army 
but a few days before, and knew nothing of war. His or- 
ders were to hold on firmly until the attack began and then 
retreat slowly within our lines. He entirely mistook their 
object, and upon the report of the first gun from the Ameri- 
can left he commenced his own retreat without waiting to 
be attacked and in spite of the entreaties of his brave vet- 
erans. The error sprang from ignorance, not from want 
of patriotism or courage : it had, however, nearly proved 
fatal to the American army. The officers of artillery sta- 
tioned in the advance battery . . . were at their posts, 
and keenly on the alert, . . . when suddenly, with- 
out the previous notice of a single shot, the trampling of 
feet and the sound of voices were heard under the muzzle 
of their guns. The brave McDonogh was the first to leap 
upon the parapet and demand, in a voice of thunder, 'Who 
goes there?' The watch-word was instantly returned, and 
the officer of the picket attempted to excuse his conduct. 
McDonogh replied. 'Return, sir, instantly, and die upon your 
post — one moment's delay and I'll blow you and your com- 
mand into ten thousand atoms.' The young man obeyed, 
but scarcely had he advanced two hundred yards before 
he encountered the enemy. . . . Our gallant band re- 
ceived them with a tremendous fire of artillerv and mus- 


ketry, and the I British were repulsed at every point. The un- 
remitting and destructive tire of our brave artillerists pro- 
duced a scene of most appalling grandeur. Every avenue 
of sense conveyed some idea of horror. The thick gloom of 
the night, only broken here and there by the glare of the 
lightning and the bright flash of the guns ; the alternate 
roar of the cannonade and the death-like stillness of those 
solemn intervals of silence which interrupt the tumult of 
war; the lurid smoke which hung- like a mournful curtain 
over the field of carnage ; the shrieks of the wounded and 
dying and the yells of the hostile Indians — all combined to 
produce a spectacle of sublime reality. They [the British] 
returned five times to the attack, determined to conquer or 
perish in the attempt. The sixth assault was attended with - 
better success. Colonel Drummond, who attacked YVat- 
mough's battery [? Williams's] with • a column of one 
thousand men, effected a footing on the bastion and charged 
the defenders while in the very act of reloading their guns. 
The Colonel himself led the forlorn hope. ... A per- 
sonal conflict of great violence ensued and continued for 
some time with alternate success. In a desperate resolve to 
repel the foe, the brave, the intrepid Williams and 
McDonogh fell. . . . The incident related above suf- 
ficiently indicates the character of McDonogh." 

The report of Brigadier-General Gaines to the Secretary 
of War, dated Fort Erie, August 23, 18 14, contains the fol- 
lowing : 

"Sir : — I have the honor to communicate . . . the 
particulars of the battle fought at this place on the 15th 
inst., . . . which terminated in a signal victory in 
favor of the United States arms. . . . Fort Erie 
[was defended] by Captain Williams, with Major Trimble's 
command of the Nineteenth Infantry. . . . The night 
was dark and the early part of it raining, but the 
faithful sentinel slept not. ( )ne third of the troops were 
up at their posts. At half-past two o'clock the right column 
of the enemy approached, and though enveloped in darkness 
was distinctly heard on our left and promptly 


marked by our musketry. . . . My attention was now 
called to the right, where our batteries and lines were soon 
lighted by a most brilliant fire of cannon and musketry. 
It announced the approach of the center and left columns of 
the enemy, under Colonels Drummond and Scott. 
That of the center, led by Colonel Drummond, was not long 
kept in check. It approached at once even- assailable point 
of the fort, and with scaling ladders ascended the parapet, 
but was repulsed with dreadful carnage. The assault was 
twice repeated and as often checked, but the enemy having 
moved round in the ditch, covered by darkness added to the 
heavy cloud of smoke which had rolled from our cannon 
and musquetry enveloping surrounding objects, repeated 
the charge, reascended the ladders, and with their pikes, 
bayonets, and spears fell upon our gallant artillerists. The 
gallant spirits of our favorite Captain Williams and Lieu- 
tenants McDonogh and Watmough, with their brave men, 
were overcome ; the two former and several of their men 
received deadly wounds. Our bastion was lost. Lieutenant 
McDonogh, being severely wounded, demanded quarter ; it 
was refused by Colonel Drummond. The Lieutenant then 
seized a handspike and nobly defended himself until he was 
shot down with a pistol by the monster who had refused him 
quarter, who often reiterated the order, 'Give the damned 
Yankees no quarter/ This officer, whose bravery if it had 
been seasoned with virtue should have entitled him to the ad- 
miration of every soldier — this hardened murderer — soon 

met his fate. He was shot through the breast by 

of the regiment while repeating the order to give 

no quarter. . . , t Major Hindman's efforts, aided by 
Major Trimble, having failed to drive the enemy from the 
bastion with the remaining artillery and infantry in the fort. 
Captain Birdsall, of the Fourth Rifle Regiment, gallantly 
rushed in through the gate-way to their assistance, and with 
some infantry charged the enemy, but was repulsed and the 
captain severely wounded. A detachment from the 
Eleventh, Nineteenth, and Twenty-second Infantry, under 
Captain Foster, of the Eleventh, were introduced over the 
interior bastion for the purpose of charging the enemy ; 


Major Hall, Assistant Inspector-General, very handsomely 
tendered his services to lead the charge. The charge was 
gallantly made by Captain Foster and Major Hall, but 
owing to the narrowness of the passage up the bastion, ad- 
mitting only two or three men abreast, it failed. It was 
often repeated and as often checked. The enemy's force in 
the bastion was, however, much cut to pieces and diminished 
by our artillery and small-arms. 

"At this moment every operation was arrested by the ex- 
plosion of some cartridges deposited in the end of the stone 
building adjoining the contested bastion ; the explosion was 
tremendous : it was decisive ; the bastion was restored 
[ ? destroyed]. 

"Major Hindman, and the whole of the artillery under 
the command of that excellent officer, displayed a degree of 
gallantry and good conduct not to be surpassed. The par- 
ticular situation of Captain Towson and the much lamented 
Captain Williams and Lieutenant McDonogh and that of 
Lieutenant Watmough as already described, with their re- 
spective commands, rendered them most conspicuous." 

Miss O'Reilly writes that "according to the unques- 
tioned traditions of Lieut. McDonogh's family, this ex- 
plosion [in- the bastion], so momentous in its consequences, 
was attributable to his act. Wounded, not killed, by 
the shot from Col. Drummond's pistol, he saw his brave 
comrades overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the 
British, the nobly-defended bastion lost, the fort in danger 
of capture. Forgetful of himself and the pain of his 
wounds, he thought only of his country and of the honor 
of her gallant army ; he was heard t® order back his men, 
to exclaim, 'May God have mercy on my soul,' and then 
with a supreme effort he mustered his fast ebbing strength 
and threw a lighted fuse or match into the ammunition 
chest which was under the platform of the demi-bastion." 
She supports this "family tradition" with a variety of cor- 
roborative evidence. "This version of the affair, it is said, 
was given to McDonogh's parents by his soldiers and fellow- 
officers who had been with him during the assault, when 


they returned to Philadelphia." She cites several early pub- 
lications which give substantially the same version. 

The student of the episode is reminded, however, that 
several other explanations of the explosion have been given. 
Lossing, in his Field Book of the War of 1812, quotes 
from a letter written to him by one Jabez Fisk, then [1867] 
living - near Adrian, Mich. This veteran, who was in the 
fight, wrote to the historian : "Three or four hundred of the 
enemy had got into the bastion. At this time an American 
officer came running- up and said, "General Gaines, the bas- 
tion is full. I can blow them all to hell in a minute.'' They 
both passed back through a stone building, and in a short 
time the bastion and the British were high in the air. 
General Gaines soon returned, swinging his hat and shout- 
ing 'Hurrah for Little York!' This in allusion to the blow- 
ing up of the British magazine at Little York [Toronto], 
where General Pike was killed." Only by assuming that 
this reckless soldier was Lieut. McDonogh, can one recon- 
cile this story with the McDonogh family tradition ; an 
achievement made the more difficult by the fact that Lieut. 
McDonogh was mortally wounded, before the explosion oc- 
curred. Another account attributes the explosion to a cor- 
poral of American artillery, who disguised himself in the 
red coat and cap of a British deserter, and pretending to be 
busy in working a gun. applied a slow match to the am- 
munition under the platform, making his escape before the 
explosion occurred. Gen. Drummond's official report states 
that the ammunition under the platform caught fire from 
guns that were fired to the rear. Numerous other explana- 
tions, attributing it to accident in one form or another, are 
to be found in the reports and correspondence of the time. 
It will probably always remain an unsettled question. 

It is not known where Lieutenant [McDonogh was buried, 
if, indeed, his remains were recognizable and were buried 
at all. A member of the family visited Buffalo some years 
ago, and wrote [in 1887 or 1889] : 

"■I tried to find McDonogh's grave while I was at Buf- 
falo. Those killed at Fort Erie were buried at Black Rock, 


and the cemetery there was abandoned some years ago, 
the remains of the Fort Erie victims being removed to the 
present cemetery and buried in a soldiers' lot, along with a 
number of those who were killed in or died during the re- 
bellion. The graves of the latter are marked, but there are 
seven unmarked belonging to those removed from Black 
Rock, and among them is probably McDonogh, though 
there is no record of his name and no means of identifica- 
tion so far as 1 got." 

The letters of Lieut. McDonogh, so far as preserved, 
relating to his service in the War of 1812, follow in chrono- 
logical order. It may be noted that his own signature cor- 
rects the usual spelling of his name, which in most of the 
histories appears erroneously as "McDonough." Various 
family and personal matters are omitted, as of no historic 


District Rendezvous, Trenton, June 26th, 1812. 

Dear Father & Mother: — I arrived here safe on 
Wednesday and immediately took charge of the men en- 
trusted to my care which I am very much pleased with. I 
am likewise pleased with the situation. 

Dennis" was waiting for me on the wharf when I ar- 
rived. I saw him this morning but was engaged in taking 
the men down to the river so that I could but salute him. I 
don't think he is as well as when he left Philadelphia, and 
he says himself that he expects to die about October next. 

The sergeant could not find Richards to get my mattress 
so that I have been sleeping these two nights past in a tent 

* Supposed to be a brother of John O'Brien, the lieutenant's brother.-in-law, 
husband to his si>tcr Anne, lie died of consumption not very lone: afterwards. 
He had been in the English armv before he came to America. 


on straw, as the Garrison Rules are that no officer or private 
shall sleep out. I wish you could have them (my mat- 
tresses) put on board of the Trenton Packet for me. She 
lies at Arch Street Wharf. Direct to Lieut. McDonogh, 
Trenton Depot. I forgot my clarionet which I would wish 
to have also. 

Ca'pt. Connelly passed through here the day after I ar- 
rived, I am told for Philada. I saw -Mr. Andrews on his 
way to Phila. yesterday. Deveraux is here acting as Quar- 
termaster's Sergeant. Pie made himself known to me the 
day after I arrived here. 

I have seen Adjutant General's orders issued to the of- 
ficers of the army requesting them to send in their claims 
if they have any on account of former services either in the 
army or volunteers so that they may be enabled to rank the 
officers on correct principles. I shall write to-morrow to 
the Adjutant. ... 1 shall know by the middle of 
next week whether I will be allowed to remain here or not. 
If 1 do not you may expect to see me the week after. I am 
with affection & esteem, Your dutiful Son 


New York. Septm. 7th, 1812. 
Di-:ar Father & Mother: — I would have written to you 
from P>runswick but my orders to proceed to this place were 
so short that I had not time. I arrived here yesterday after- 
noon in the stage. ... I expect we shall sail for Al- 
bany tomorrow morning where I shall write on my arrival. 
Give mv love to mv sisters & all. . . . Your affection- 
ate Son PATK. McDONOGH. 

Camp near Green Bush, Septm. 13th, 1812. 
Dear Parents: — I arrived here on Friday last, after a 
very pleasant >ail of four days up the Hudson, which made 
up in some measure for the disagreeableness of the first part 
of our journey ; after leaving Philad. on the 3d inst. we 
did not arrive in Trenton until late in the afternoon of the 


4th, and had then to encamp on the wet ground, it pouring 
rain, which continued until the morning of the 6th. On 
the 5th the men made a march of 25J.2 miles ( to Bruns- 
wick ) notwithstanding the rain and the hadness of the 
roads ; from thence they were transported in boats to Xew 
York ; and then to Greenbush opposite to Albany, & within 
i l / 2 miles of our present encampment. 

We are now under marching orders ; will strike our 
tents and take up our line of march for Plattsburg or Niag- 
ara on the 15th inst. I was not as much gratified on my ar- 
rival as I expected to have been with the sight of 3000 men 
encamped, as they are not encamped in line, but in Regi- 
ments. The ground they occupy is about three miles in cir- 
cumference and is very uneven.* Each Col. has the ex- 
clusive command of his own Regt. General Dearborn does 
not quarter in camp with us. He is a fine old gentleman 
and makes a very soldierly appearance. We were all in- 
troduced to him on our arrival, lie was much pleased with 
our appearance and could not be persuaded our men were 
recruits. You have no idea of the number of Troops that 
daily enter and leave our camp. There have been about 
3000 marched from this already ; on the day we arrived 
there were one company of light artillery from Xew 
England, & two of heavy from Governor's Island that 
landed with us ; this morning a very handsome company of 
artillery left here for Niagara : tomorrow the 5th Regt of 
Infty goes; the day after it will be our turn with another 
company of the same Regt. & on the 20th and 25th there 
will be a Regtn. or two more. 

Plattsburg is about 107 or 8 miles from here; Colo. Scot 
does not yet know our place of destination, if I have time 
after I hear, I will write. & let you knew before we march. 
I am very much pleased with the Col. ( he does everything 
to make us happy and comfortable ) and with the officers 
generally. I write this on my trunk ; we have so little 
time «x our stav is so short that we have had no camp fur- 
niture made. ... I am affectionately yours 



P. S. — Tell the Major* there are large barracks building 
here. They will be finished by the time the drafted militia 
are sent on ; but he is not to be expected to be quartered in 
a mansion house or a masonic hall: they are frame build- 
ings, and well sheltered from the Xorwesters by a range of 
hills in their rear. General Smyth, the Inspector General, 
quarters in a part of them that is finished. He goes with the 
5th Regiment of Infantry to-morrow. I forgot to mention 
that there is a man to be shot to-morrow afternoon for de- 
serting his post while on guard. He is one of the finest 
looking soldiers in camp and had but ten months to stay. 
He belongs to the Light Artillery. 

Septm. 15th, 18 1 2, 10 o'clock at night. 

I could not get over to Albany to put this letter in the 
post-office, we were so busy preparing for the march ; nor 
could we get off to-day as was contemplated, on account of 
the difficulty we found in procuring our ordnance and am- 
munition ; but we are now ready and will positively start 
at daylight for Niagara where I expect we shall have plenty 
to do. 

The man that was to be shot has been pardoned by the 
General with a promise that it would be the last (pardon). 
All the troops were paraded and the criminal was blind- 
folded when the pardon was read. 

I wish you would write to Niagara so that I may hear 
from you before I march again. 


Camp Geneva, Septm. 27th, 18 12. 
State of Xew York. 
Dear Father & Mother: — I take every opportunity of 
letting you know where I am. for I assure you the only 
uneasiness I have is on your account fearing that you should 
be unhappy or anxious to hear the result of our campaign. 

* A lit'le pleasantry at the expense of John Maitland, his brother-in-law, 
who held a major's commission in the Ninety-third Regiment, Pennsylvania 
Volunteers, and took the field with it for the defence of Philadelphia during 
the war. 


We are now 187 miles from Albany and 447 from Phila- 
delphia, by the route we have come. We left Greenbush on 
the 16th inst. & arrived in Albany ; on the 17th we marched ; 
passed through Schenectady, a handsome city, crossed the 
Mohawk River and encamped on its banks ; the 18th, pro- 
ceeded on our march up the Mohawk turnpike 75 miles, re- 
crossed the Mohawk and entered Utica on the 25th. Utica 
surpasses for beauty and size any city that I have seen since 
I left Albany. The road so far has been a road of villages, 
generally handsome, laid out with a great deal of taste and 
containing more elegance and fashion than you would ex- 
pect. The churches and public buildings in them might 
occupy a distinguished place in Philadelphia. 

After writing my last letter we marched but half a mile 
that afternoon, and the following morning we passed 
through the Oneida tribe. We were much pleased with the 
reception they gave us : the Indian men were paraded on 
one side of the road saluting us, and the squaws on the other 
with baskets filled with fruit which they distributed among 
our men. 

We are now between the lakes. — having crossed the 
Skaneateles and the Cayuga are now on the banks of Sen- 
eca. The next will be Canandaigua. sixteen miles from here. 
I never thought I could become so accustomed to marching ; 
after measuring twenty miles I can rise the following morn- 
ing as cheerful and light for twenty more as if I had not 
inarched a mile, and as to eating and sleeping, we dare not 
think of such a thing out of camp. W r e often halt and sit 
down in the middle of a held after marching from ten to 
fourteen miles to dine on crackers and milk. But you are 
not to suppose that we have to put up with this always, — 
we sometimes have better. The men stand it very well ; we 
have no trouble with them ; in all the different changes — 
wet or dry. warm or cold, they are in good spirits. 

We are but 130 miles, from Niagara. I expect we shall 
move shortlv after we get there, as there will be a sufficient' 
force collected at three different points to enter Canada (at 
Xiagara, Plattsburgh & Detroit), but you may be sure you 
will hear from me before we leave there. 



Give my love to Anne,, Mary and all the family. I shall 
charge my memory with all that occurs, to recount next 
winter — this time next year — in old Philadelphia, when we 
will be all happy and comfortable (I hope in God) round 
a good tire, — which, dear Father and Mother, is the first 
wish of your 

Affectionate and dutiful son 


When you write you will direct to Lt. McDonogh, 2nd 
Regmt, U. S. Artillery, Niagara. 

Camp Lewiston, October 16th, 1812. 
My dear Sister: — I cannot conceive what can be the 
cause of my father or mother not writing to me. I have 
written four letters and received no answer. My last was 
on 'the night of the 12th inst* previous to our marching for 
this place where we arrived the following morning before 
day when an unfortunate action commenced. I sav unfor- 
tunate for it was truly so for us. Half an hour before day 
the troops crossed ( composed principally of militia and 
about 600 regulars ) under a very heavy fire from the 
enemy's batteries of red-hot shell, grape and round shot. In 
less than two hours the two batteries were taken and their 
troops retreated in all directions leaving us in complete pos- 
session of the hill and landing. A skirmishing ensued which 
lasted until two o'clock, the Englishmen dropping in all 
quarters; but after collecting their forces for seven miles 
around, they brought a strong reinforcement of English and 
Indians, and from that moment the scene began to change, 
although obstinately contested by our men who fought like 
heroes but without regularity or order, being entirely con- 
ducted by militia officers. Major General Yanrenselaer — 
who ordered the attack, for certainly there was no plan in 
it, there being not even boats provided to take us over — is a 
General of this State, and I believe wished to have the merit 
of doing as much mischief as he could without the assistance 

* The letter here alluded to is not included in the collection. 


or advice of an officer or private of the regular army. It 
was with difficulty that we could procure permission to par- 
take in it. General Smythe and his brigade were on their 
way to this place — his brigade consisting of twelve hundred 
fine men — when he (.VanR.) sent an express with orders 
for him to return, when two or three hundred Regulars at 
furthest more than we had would have decided in our favor 
and prevented our brave soldiers from being made prison- 
ers. The Militia whilst in action fought bravely, but they 
would leave it when they thought proper, and could not be 
prevailed on to return. Out of the 600 Regulars there are 
not more than 250 that are not killed or wounded and 130 
are prisoners. Our Colonel is a prisoner, Lt. Roach is 
slightly wounded through the arm by a rifle-ball, and none 
of our men dangerously. Major Mullany is a prisoner: 
when the troops surrendered he hid himself in the rocks 
for a day, but the English sent two officers and two officers 
that were prisoners and a strong Guard to prevent the In- 
dians from scalping those that were scattered, which they 
were busily engaged in doing, when the Major with six 
privates gave himself up. He behaved very well during 
the action. The English have lost most of their officers — 
General Brock was killed and his aid, McDonald of Detroit, 
mortally wounded ; the 49th Regiment had half their 
choicest men that they boasted so much of cut to pieces ; of 
two fine Companies of Grenadiers not a man left, and a great 
many Indians killed. They can say that they defeated us 
but they have no more to boast of — you may guess that they 
were well pinched. The battle ended between four and five 
P. M., — fifteen minutes later a flag of truce arrived request- 
ing a cessation of hostilities fur three days. It was granted 
and will terminate to-day. 

General Smythe's Brigade arrived here yesterday: the 
Major General has given up the command to the Brigadier 
and will I am in hopes return to civil life. I think that in 
a few days we will make them look about them and hope 
to direct my next from Canada. This is a very poor coun- 
try, — miserable roads, and nothing to be had for love or 
money. The land opposite is very inviting, it looks well 


and I understand they live well. The river between us is 
nut wider than the Schuylkill. We are about six miles 
below Niagara Falls and within seven of Lake Ontario. 

I hope you will answer this immediately and let me know 
how you all are ; I will be very uneasy until I hear. . 
This letter will not I am afraid be a very pleasing- one, being 
entirely tilled with war, but I assure you we know of noth- 
ing else here. Excuse scribbling, — my trunk is my table. 
I close, expecting to be in action shortly. They have ree'd 
a reinforcement opposite ; we hear a heavy tiring from the 
forts 7 miles distant. Direct to fort Niagara or near it. I 
remain vour affectionate brother, 


I have spoken with a great deal of freedom of my of- 
ficers, which if made public might injure me. 

Black Rock, Novmb. 15th, 181 2. 
I yesterday ree'd yours of the 13th of October. 
1 cannot account for the detention of your letter on the 
road ; it must have remained some time at Niagara al- 
though I had written to the postmaster requesting him to 
send the letters up immediately on their arrival. I am sorry 
to hear Denis is no better ; I thought the country would 
have benefited him. He as a soldier knows too well our 
situation to suppose we have leisure or convenience [for 
correspondence]. When I have something worth telling I 
will sit down and make his eyes sparkle. Here we are some- 
times in grand spirits, at others in the dumps ; when there 
are any signs of crossing we are cheerful, but the thought 
of passing a dull winter on the banks, of the River brings 
down the lip. Since my last the Infantry were ordered to 
build huts to quarter in ; after they had pitched upon the 
ground, and some companies had struck their tents to march 
t') it, an express arrived from General Dearborn or the 
Secretary of War which caused the order to be counter- 
manded ; ami General Smythe in an address to the men 
of the state of New York savs that in a few days we shall 
plant the American standard in Canada, that we will con- 


quer or die, and that no savages shall cross to tarnish our 
ungathered laurels by ruthless deeds" ; before this reaches 
you it will be in the Philadelphia newspapers. There was 
an order issued yesterday that the officers should dress as 
much like the soldiers as possible, so that the}' could not be 
distinguished from them at 150 paces, and that the soldiers 
should be drilled in squatting, or lying down and loading 
their muskets. There are from 1500 to 2000 drafted militia 
coming on from Pennsylvania, 2co of which, they say, are 
rifle-men, and that they will all cross. They are within two 
or three days march of here. After they get a few days 
drilling we may expect to move. It has been snowing 
lightly for the three past days, but the bottom not being 
good the snow has not remained any depth on the ground. 
My next I hope will be from Canada after a 
glorious victory. . . • . Direct to Buffalo — it is within 
2 l / 2 miles from here. 

Dear Parents 1 am your affectionate and dutiful son, 


P. S. — Roach is getting much stronger — he sits up part 
of the day. Major Mullany is still here and says he will 
remain until we get the town mavor opposite to exchange 
for him. P. McD. 

14th. — I open my letter to mention the probable time 
the armistice will cease. I have just rec'd orders to go to 
Niagara with twenty men for the purpose of bringing up 
all the ammunition & camp equipage there and to have 
them here by the 20th at furthest, when you may expect 
hostile operations will begin. 

Williamsville, December the 14th, 1.8 12. 
Dl;ar Parents: — I received yours of the 10th this mo- 
ment and one dated the 17th of last month on the 10th inst. 
It surprised me to find that Smith, who sutlered for us at 
Mantua, should furnish you with my bill, as I expected he 

* Referring to the bombastic address of Brig. -Gen. Smyth, whose name is 
usually mis-spelled in Lt. McDonogh's letters. 


was coming after us as he promised & which indeed pre- 
vented me from paying him until I could better spare the 
money. He has, however, found means of adding- to the 
amount as it was originally hut 8 dollars, and in saying he 
lost by the officers of our detachment he said what was in- 
famously false as all but myself settled with him. He 
might have come on after us to Albany ; but we left him 
in Philad. I give you my word that 1 have not reed, a cent 
of pay since I left you nor do I want money more than to 
settle what little I owe which I will be enabled to do by the. 
time this reaches you, as we expect the Paymaster the latter 
end of this month or the beginning of next, when 1 will 
forward Mr. Smith's account with the money for the boots 
and about Si 5 more that I owe. 1 assure you it was not 
for want of principle that I did not pay them before. We 
were led to believe we would get money in Albany but were 
disappointed. My clothes have held out and we cant starve 
in the army. I commenced drawing my rations the 1 6th of 
this month, Keyler cooks for me, and as good living as 
bread & beef can give I have. . . . We are now en- 
camped in the woods, building Huts which we expect to get 
into by the middle of next month — it is rather late in the 
season to be in tents. We have a very handsome situation 
on Elliott's [Ellicott's] Creek. The place is called after its 
owner, a Col. Williams of Xew York." I hear the contem- 
plated building his house next spring on the very ground 
on which we are building and desired that not a piece of 
timber should be cut down as he wished it entirely shaded, 
but I can promise him that by that time there will not be a 

* Jonas Williams, for whom Williamssille is named, had been a clerk for 
the Holland Land Company, at Batavia. In the spring of 1805 he bought and 
rebuilt an abandoned mill on Eleven-Mile, otherwise Hllicott's Creek, and 
founded the village which has since borne his name. He died about 1820. 
Williamsville was a station for troops, both regulars and militia, during the 
greater part of the war. The principal barracks and hospital were on the creek, 
about a milt 1 above the village. Here many soldiers, it is said British prison- 
ers among them, died and were buried. The "Garrison Burying Ground"' was 
for many years a neglected spot, marked only by grassy mounds and great 
maples. In 1S9S the Buffalo Historical Society acquired title to the plot, in- 
cluding 5.4 acres, fenced it, and placed a cannon therein, suitably mounted and 


sappling standing within a mile of it. We marched from 
Black Rock to this place on the nth inst. You have heard 
ere this of the duel that took -place on the 12th between 
Generals Smith & Porter and the hitter's statement of facts.* 
Genl. S. has left here on furlough; Col. Porter of the Light 
Artillery commands in his absence, and as we are 11 miles 
from the enemy everything- is quiet. . . . Your af- 
fectionate son ' PATRICK McDONOGH. 

I need not mention that it was not I that commanded the 
gun-boat ; no such good luck for us in this quarter — our 
hands are tied. Direct to Buffalo, it is the only post town 
near here — 11 miles distant. 

Black Rock, March 19th, 1813. 

Dear Parents : — I rec'd yours of the 4th inst. 
On the 1 6th we received our pay up to the last of December 
1812. Through some mismanagement or neglect on the 
part of the Paymaster we were not paid up to this month, 
nor will any of the men transferred from Capt. Barker be 
paid until the paymaster comes round again, which I expect 
will be in two months, owing to the muster rolls being sent 
by Col. Porter to the wrong paymaster. If you see the 
Capt. mention it to him as he is security for them to some 
amount & requested that I would see it paid. 

Being disappointed in my pay, I will not be able to send 

* The story of this harmless duel has often been told. Porter charged 
Smyth with cowardice. A quarrel and challenge ensued; and on the after- 
noon of Dec. 12, the two officers left Black Rock in boats and were rowed to 
Grand Island. Gen. Smyth was accompanied by Lt.-Col. Winder, as second, 
while Lt. Angus served I'orter in like capacity. The surgeon was Dr. Roberts, 
and the assistant-surgeon Dr. Usher Parsons, afterwards surgeon of Perry's 
flag-ship Lawrence, ami author of one of the many works regarding the battle 
of Lake Erie. The surgeons' services were superfluous on this occasion. Gen. 
Smyth and his second in command faced each other at i_> paces, exchanged 
shots that did not take effect, other than to make it possible for each to admit 
that his opponent was a gentleman and no coward. Three months prior to this 
time, Gen. Porter and Col. Solomon Van Rensselaer had quarreled and the 
former had challenged to a duel, but Gen. Stephen Van Rensselaer threatened 
them with arrest and watched them so closely that they never got to the dueling- 
ground on Grand Island. There appears to have been much quarreling and 
bitter feeling among the officers in command, in the opening months of the 
Niagara campaign. 


you the money \ expected yet. After paying what I owe 
here I had but 28 dollars left to purchase some things I 

was very much in want of. In expectation of receiving 
what was due to me, I bought several things from Capt. 
Barker — his bed & bedding &c, and took part in his debts. 
On his arrival at Albany he enclosed 180 dollars co me to 

pay the remainder. I mention this for your satisfaction & 
to show you that I have not been worse off than the other 
officers, but hope you will not mention it to any one, for 
should it come to their ears they might feel hurt as the 
situation of the officers is known to each other only. And 
in respect to money matters they are to each other as broth- 
ers, particularly in cur regiment. I thank Col. Scott for 
the character he gave you of me and hope you will never 
find me unworthy of it. On the different stations and under 
the several commanding officers I have been placed I always 
endeavored to do my duty <x I trust allowed no one to in- 
fringe upon my rights, nor did I look to any for favour or 
partiality. With Col. Scott I was rather reserved as I could 
not forget his arresting me for so trifling a cause.* He has 
not a better opportunity of knowing who will be promoted 
than ourselves. It is presumed that those who have friends 
in Washington to intercede for them will stand the best 
chance. It is principally on that account that Capt. Barker 
has gone on. I have written to the Secretary merely to re- 
mind him that there is such a person in existence as myself. 
An officer — let his grade be what it may — is entitled to the 
attention of his government to his claims or applications : 
notwithstanding, most is done by favour. . . I look- 

to next summer to be the happiest of any you have seen for 

We had a cannonading here on the 17th ihst. It com- 
menced from an alarm given on the Lake at one o'clock in 
the morning, and lasted until dark the next evening. There 
have been several expeditions on foot for crossing, but none 
has been carried into effect. They are very weak on the op- 
posite side & we are not strong altho double their number 
on the Xiagara [one word torn, probably]. 

* Nothing Seems to b:- known about this arrest, except the slight informa- 
tion contained in a letter written marv years later by McDonogh's sister Anne 
t>> her son at West Point and in his reply to the sain:. 


We have bad correct information from Genl. Harrison : 
he has had to entrench, his army being so weakened by the 
defeat of Winchester and some whose term of service had 
expired, returning, that an issue of an engagement would 
have been very doubtful; and perhaps fatal. They were in 
good spirits, and such was the secrecy observed in camp 
that the men were ignorant of their own weakness, not a 
line was permitted to go out of camp. 

Father, I wish if you can spare the time you would call 
on Col. Denis (son-in-law to the District .Marshal) who 
holds my receipts for upwards of 500 dollars, and tell him 
that I request him to give you a receipt for the settlement 
of my recruiting accounts or to return my account with the 
vouchers and a receipt for the money I returned to him. 
Your dutiful son, 


Black Rock, April 25th, 1813. 

Dear Parent's : — It is now nearly two months since the 
date of the last letter ree'd from you, and all I fear is that 
your last letter is lost, as one that came by the last mail 
directed to me was taken out with the papers by the man 
we board with and was dropped either in Buffalo or on the 
road between there and here. I could not blame the old 
man as it was an accident, and through pure good-nature he 
took it out of the office, knowing my anxiety to hear from 
you all and that I expected a letter by even mail — which 
arrives but twice a week. I have been very unwell for a 
week back, but am getting better. 

We are fast preparing for the field. I expect that in 
about four weeks we shall make a move. Our division will 
consist of about 3500 or 3800 regulars, and I don't think any 
militia will be called on to cross. Our company is attached 
to the 2d Brigade, commanded by Genl. Winder; it will 
be about 1500 strong. Genl. Boyd will have the remainder. 
Major Genl. Lewis commands the whole. The Generals 
have all arrived and the troops to make up the complement 
are expected daily. Things appear to be in better train 
than they ever were. Col. Scott I think has been ordered 


to Sacketts Harbour or he would have been here before now. 
I have not heard from Capt. Barker or any of my acquaint- 
ances since he left here. I hear that Capt. C. has been struck 
off the rolls ; his girl followed him to Carlyle and acted as 
his waiter in men's clothes. When it was found out an of- 
ficer applied for his arrest; the Adjutant waited on him for 
that purpose — he told the Adjutant that he had received a 
letter from-the Adjt. General informing - him of his dismissal 
from the service and, of course, he did not come under mar- 
tial law. 

You may remember that Air. Ward wrote to me some 
time since respecting his friend's son (Saml. Wilkins). The 
young- man procured a furlough (or his father for him 
through Genl. Izard) about the 15th of Feby. ; owing to 
the anxiety his father expressed for him in a letter of thanks 
to me in December last I, to assist him in getting home, went 
his security to our landlord for thirty dollars for one month ; 
he has since written to some of the men and never mentioned 
a word about it. I wish my father would call on Air. Wil- 
kins and mention the matter to him. Should the son deny 
it I can procure the note which is in the landlord's hands. 
Mr. Wilkins lives in Chestnut St. opposite to Strawberry. 
There have been a great many promotions in the Infantry 
and some in the 3d regt. of Artillery, but the 2d remains 
stationary, all that have been promoted were through in- 
terest. The 1 2th & 20th regiments are quite in an uproar; 
all the subalterns of the 20th have . . . [illegible; 
presumably '"obtained"] their parchment; the Captains of 
the 1 2th have drawn up a memorial and had it signed by a 
great many officers on this station, and one of the Captains 
has gone on with it to remonstrate. A first lieutenant of 
our regiment has been promoted to a captaincy in the 20th, 
a Thomas M. Randolph, — a hue fellow but he has no mili- 
tary turn. He had very powerful friends. I mention this 
to you — it is a very delicate thing to talk of an officer out 
of the army. I have no other chance of promotion than 
what may fall to my lot in the field — a few balls might make 
some vacancies. . . . Your affectionate & dutiful son 



to Sacketts Harbour or he would have been here before now. 
1 have not heard from Capt. Barker or any of my acquaint- 
ances since he left here. I hear that Capt. C. has been struck 
off the rolls ; his girl followed him to Carlyle and acted as 
his waiter in men's clothes. When it was found out an of- 
ficer applied for his arrest; the Adjutant waited on him for 
that purpose — he told the Adjutant that he had received a 
letter from-the Adjt. General informing- him of his dismissal 
from the service and, of course, he did not come under mar- 
tial law. 

You may remember that Mr. Ward wrote to me some 
time since respecting his friend's son (Saml. Wilkins). The 
young man procured a furlough (or his father for him 
through Genl. Izard) about the 15th of Feby. ; owing to 
the anxiety his father expressed for him in a letter of thanks 
to me in December last 1, to assist him in getting home, went 
his security to our landlord for thirty dollars for one month ; 
he has since written to some of the men and never mentioned 
a word about it. I wish my father would call on Mr. Wil- 
kins and mention the matter to him. Should the son deny 
it I can procure the note which is in the landlord's hands. 
Mr. Wilkins lives in Chestnut St. opposite to Strawberry. 
There have been a great many promotions in the Infantry 
and some in the 3d regt. of Artillery, but the 2d remains 
stationary, all that have been promoted were through in- 
terest. The 1 2th & 20th regiments are quite in an uproar; 
all the subalterns of the 20th have . . . [illegible; 
presumably '"obtained"] their parchment; the Captains of 
the 1 2th have drawn up a memorial and had it signed by a 
great many officers on this station, and one of the Captains 
has gone on with it to remonstrate. A first lieutenant of 
our regiment has been promoted to a captaincy in the 20th, 
a Thomas M. Randolph, — a hue fellow but he has no mili- 
tary turn. He had very powerful friends. I mention this 
to you — it is a very delicate thing to talk of an officer out 
of the army. I have no other chance of promotion than 
what may fall to my lot in the field — a few balls might make 
some vacancies. . . . Your affectionate & dutiful son 



Newark, May the 30th, 181 3. 

Dear Parents: — It is with pleasure I inform you that 
we are at last in Canada. We embarked for this place in 
boats and crossed on the 27th. The enemy met us on the 
shore and made a very obstinate resistance for about 15 
minutes when they retreated to Oueenstown Heights, spik- 
ing their guns and destroying their stores and ammunition 
as they went. Fort George having been previously burned 
almost to ashes by hot shot from our Fort and batteries, was 
evacuated on our approach. We might have taken them all 
prisoners were it not that our Generals advanced too cau- 
tiously, being apprehensive of explosions. Their loss was 
double that of ours in killed and wounded. Captain Roach 
has been slightly touched again, in the right arm. As he 
was without a command Col. Scott gave him the command 
of a three-pounder with eight men from our company. On 
the 28th we proceeded on our march towards Fort Erie 
thinking they would make a stand there, but on our arrival 
at Oueenstown found that they had taken a different route, 
blown up their Fort, and were drawing their forces towards 
York. Our Brigade was immediately ordered to cross by 
water to cut off their retreat to Kingston. We were all em- 
barked this morning at daylight, but the wind being very 
high and against us. the General countermanded the order, 
considering it too great a risk in open boats, as it is almost 
impossible for a boat to live on the Lake when there is any 
kind of a swell. We are to march around by land to-mor- 
row — or next day at farthest. The roads, they say, are 
very bad. The distance around the head of the Lake to 
York is from ninety to one hundred miles. 

This is a delightful place. The people had evacuated it 
but are returning daily. They are generally loyal for a few 
miles back. 

When I spoke of the dull winter I spent in this country 
I did not mean I was tired of the army, — on the contrary, 
nothing could please me better, particularly when we are 
00 the move. You need not write to me again until you 
hear from me as I cannot tell you where to direct: — should 
vou have anvthing of moment, bv addressing vour letter 


to Fart Niagara, to be forwarded to General Winder's 
Brigade, I may get it, but it is doubtful. . . . Your 
affectionate & dutiful son 


Fort George, August 4th, 1813, 
Dear Parents: — Mr. Steele who will hand you this has 
been good enough to eall on me for a letter. I have nothing 
worth writing to you about except to tell you I am well and 
that we still remain here doing nothing, nor do I know, 
when we shall move — Our fleet is now lying off this place 
expecting the 1 British Beet every hour. We hear they are 
building another forty-four gun ship ; if so, I do not think 
they will venture out until she is finished. Col. Scott went 
on an expedition to the head of the Lake and from there to 
York in search of British stores ; but it seems they were 
apprised of our intentions before the fleet reached there, as 
they had almost everything removed. We took s or 500 
barrels of flour and some of the officers' baggage at York, 
burnt their barracks, and returned. It is reported here that 
Genl. Wilkinson & the Secretary of War are coming on, — 
if this be true, we may yet do something. Genl. Williams 
arrived here some days back ; lie commands our Brigade. I 
think if things go on no better than they have done, I shall 
be ashamed to return to Philadelphia next winter even 
should I get permission to do so. War characters must rank 
mighty low there. . . . Your affectionate & dutiful 

I have just received Anne's letter and shall answer it in 
a day or two. She enquires for Wm. Peters: he was 
wounded at the battle of Stony Creek — in the shoulder, and 
has had his arm taken off at the socket. The others, with 
the exception of Humphries, of whom 1 know nothing, are 
well. I wish I could recommend Lt. P. to your attention; 
if I could have done it I would have written by him, but he 
left here in disgrace: the officers of his regt. were about 
arresting him, one of the charges against him being co\\ J - 
ardice. I tell vou this to caution von as his character did 


not stand very high before he entered the service. I was 
not intimate with him — we merely spoke when we met. 
Von know how delicate we should be about meddling with 
an officer's reputation as a soldier, and of course will not 
make this public. I assure you it hurts me when I think- 
that any one but the family should read my letters. 


Fort George, Augt. 9th, 1813. 

My dear Sister: — The receipt of your letter of the 26th 
of July afforded me inexpressible pleasure. . . . We 
(the 2d Brigade) were to have embarked on board the fleet 
on Saturday last, where for we knew not, but judged for 
Kingston : the sudden appearance of the British fleet 
changed the scene !— at daylight they were discovered 8 or 
10 miles from here, rather above us ; — they came up during 
the night along their own shore & cut across it is supposed 
with the intention to surprise and board our ships which 
were at anchor 4 miles below here ; — they succeeded in get- 
ting to windward but daylight appeared too soon for them 
to do more. Our gallant Commodore immediately weighed 
anchor and made for them notwithstanding their favorable 
position but could not bring them to action. Sir James'* 
object now appeared to be to get us in a position where he 
could attack the P[ ] with two vessels at once, but 

Chauncy manoeuvred too well for him and had the wind 
been in his favour, would have brought him to action long 
before this, — but the wind has been constantly wavering or 
shifting, and as if it were to be [ ? allied illegible] against 
him. He is yet in pursuit of them. I think before I close 
this I will be enabled to give you an account of the battle in 
spite of Sir James' endeavour to avoid it. 

1 am sorry to say that two of our schooners upset in a 
gale the night before last ( the Paul Hamilton & the Scourge, 
commanded by Lieutenants Winters & Osgood) while hang- 
ing on the left of the l>ritish fleet, and the officers and sixty 
of the crew are lost. 

* Sir James Yco. 


On Friday last I dined on board the Growler, com- 
manded by Lt. Deacon, son-in-law to Mrs. Hutchins of 
Burlington. He with three or four other officers of my ac- 
quaintance were to partake of a camp dinner with me the 
following day, but they found better fish to fry. If you see 
any one that is acquainted with Lt. Deacon's family, let them 
know he was well at that date, as his wife I am sure will be 
uneasy about him. ... I have answered your in- 
quiries about the men in my letter sent by Mr. Steele ;— if 
you let the men's wives torment you. you will have more 
than enough to do, — their husbands have plenty of time to 
write and every convenience, and indeed the majority of 
them do write, and they receive more or less mail even- 

Tuesday, Augt. ioth." 

This is the fourth day the fleets have been in sight of 
each other and no engagement yet ! We are all anxiety 
here and will be so until we know the issue. I can detain 
this no longer the mail goes to-night. . . . Your af- 
fectionate brother, P. McDOXOGH. 

P. S. — I fear this letter is illy calculated to rouse your 
spirits, but you must consider I am getting old & conceit 
it is from an old man* and that we have to divide our time — 
begin writing in the morning & before you are well seated 
you have to attend a call of the pickets, or other party. I 
was out all the afternoon & had a few shots at the Indians, 
but I believe they are very weak in this neighborhood now 
as they will not stand a fight. Ours are coming over to- 
morrow or next day to the number of four or five hundred. 

P. McD. 

Fort George, Septr. ioth, 1813. 
Dear Parents : — I have long looked for a letter from 
you & were it not for Anne's good-nature would be very 
uneasy about you. This will be handed to you by Capt. 
Riddle of our regt. I know you will be glad to see* him : 
he is a friend of mine, has served in the same engagements, 

* As well as it can be computed, he was not yet thirty years of age. 


partaken of the same hardships as well as of the same glorv, 
and is a brave officer — I say this as 1 know you can judge 
hew much it tends to unite and attach fellow-soldiers to eaeli 
other. He can give you an account of our present situa- 
tion & of what we may expect to do this campaign. — I fear 
it will not end before the winter sets in ; however we are 
soldiers & bound for all weathers. 

I mentioned the death of Wm. Peters in my last letter to 
Anne, since which 1 have ree'd a letter from Mrs. Peters. 
I can feel for her situation, but I assure you Mother we 
have so many applications of the same kind by almost every 
mail that were we to attend to them or encourage them, our 
pay would not cover the cost of postage on all we would re- 
ceive ; and this is not for one person, nor for once, but for 
five years and for one hundred persons to each company. 
Xcr are they ever satisfied; if it is not for their -pay or to 
know whether they are alive, its to procure them a fur- 
lough ; — whenever they can find out an officer's name & ad- 
dress, they are not at a loss for excuses to torment him. 

I wish very much to know to which regt. Mr. Wale is 
appointed. I am sorry he didn't get a higher grade, but we 
must look forward and hope. I think since the Senate has 
attended to the Arm}' that promotions will not go altogether 
by favour. Nothing can hurt the pride of a soldier who has 
seen service and is acquainted with his duty more than to 
put over him a favourite that he has to teach. 
Your affectionate son, 


Fort George, Sept. 10th. 1813. 

Dear Sister: — Although 1 have so lately written to you 
and have so little to say, 1 cannot lose so favourable an op- 
portunity of forwarding by Capt. Piddle of our regiment a 
line, knowing the constant anxiety of your mind. 

In my last I mentioned the arrival of Geiil. Wilkinson: 
he has as yet been confined to his room by sickness, but is 
recovering fast. Commodore Chauncy sailed on the morn- 
ing of the Jth. Sir James, then off this place, made every 



sail, leaving the Commodore to follow, who, you may he 
sure, is much mortified to find he cannot bring him to ac- 
tion. There are but few of our vessels that can sail as well 
as those of the British and the}' have to tow the duller sail- 
ers, which I fear will prevent him from ever coming up with 
them. We lost sight of them with the twilight this evening 
about three miles apart, every inch of canvas spread, — 
Chauncy still in pursuit & before the wind. 

I am well in health, & well content in mind ; I get more 
attached to the service every day, and more reconciled to 
the privations & toils attending it. \ look anxiously for 
quartering in Montreal next winter & until the British 
gentry are sent home you must be content with all the af- 
fection ink and paper can convey from, Your brother 


Fort George, October 8th, 1813. 

Dear Sister: — I had nearly concluded before I received 
your last that you had totally forgotten your promise, since 
which I must acknowledge you have only done so in part, 
as you edge in a letter now ami then as it were to prevent 
my spirits from completely deserting me. ... I am 
happy to hear that Perry's Victory has spread so much joy 
throughout the United States, — it looks something like 
recompense for his gallantry. Poor Chauncy I fear will 
never get half the credit he deserves ; he has done as much 
as man could do in his situation. 

The Militia and Indians under Major Chapin had a de?- 
perate engagement with a party of the British on the after- 
noon of the 6th hist. It lasted about two hours and a half. 
.After expending some thousand rounds of cartridges, this 
brilliant affair ended with the loss en our part of one Indian 
killed, one mortally wounded and one slightly, one regular 
soldier who stole out to have a finger in the pie was also 
slightly wounded, & militia none — being rather prudent : 
the loss on the part of the i.ritish were, 1 suppose, half the 
number. From the list of killed and wounded you may 
guess the distance from which they fought. It appears those 


that fell were considered foolhardy by the Militia for ad- 
vancing within point blank distance. They never return 
from a skirmish wherein the Indians have had anything to 
do, without accusing the Major oi cowardice, skulking be- 
hind trees, not advancing, &c. But he has made noise 
enough to fill a column of the newspaper, and his fame of 
course will be reiterated, — if you clont see an extract from 
the Buffalo Gazette shortly I shall be very much disap- 
pointed. We have just fired a salute from the Fort in con- 
sequence of the victory obtained by the Argus over the 
Barba. I cannot tell you whether [ shall remain here or 
not — it will depend entirely upon circumstances. Col. Scott 
& all the officers are anxious to go as it is pretty certain we 
shall not be attacked here. We learn from deserters that the 
British are sending their troops, with the exception of 500 
(which they leave, I suppose, for the purpose of preventing 
us from sleighing or going at large this winter) to Kingston, 
and they will not be foolish enough to attack us with so 
small a force; nor would [ wish them to attempt it with 
less than would fill our ditches. We can attempt nothing — 
even if our regular force would justify us in so doing, as 
Col. Scott's positive orders are not to suffer himself to be 
drawn out of the Fort on any terms whatever, or to permit 
an officer to leave it. : . . Your affectionate brother, 



Sacketts Harbor, Dec. 10, 1813. 
Sir: — You will repair as speedily as possible to District 
Xo. 4, establish a Rendezvous at any point your judgment 
may suggest, & prosecute the recruiting service with great 
diligence for the 2nd. U..S. Artillery. Upon your arrival 
report yourself to the Commanding ( >fficer of the district, 
draw funds & receive his instructions. You will be careful, 
Sir, & not sutler your recruits to be attached to any other 
corps or company than that to which you belong. Accept 


my good wishes for your success, & prosperity & health of 
family. Yours verv respectfully, 

Major Com'g. Detacht. 2<1 U. S. Artillery. 

P. S. — These orders are by instructions from the War 
Lt. McDonooh, 2d U. S. Artly. 

Utica, December 13th, 1813. 
Dear Parents: — I am happy to inform you that I am 
in hopes of eating my Christmas dinner with you : — I have 
just this moment arrived from the Harbour on my way to 
Philadelphia. Will leave here to-morrow morning for Al- 
bany, where I may probably be detained two days, but will 
lose no time after that in getting to Philadelphia where I am 
in hopes of meeting you all well and happy. Give my love 
to all the family . ' . . P. McDOXOGH. 


Sacketts Harbor, Deer. 25th, 1813. 

Dear Mc. — I expect you are now shaving, cleaning your 
teeth, & putting on a clean shirt, in honour of the day, & to 
appear more desirable in the eyes of some fair Dulcina, 
whom you expect to help to the side bone of a turkey with 
oyster sauce.. &c, &c, &c, drink a glass of old Madeira with 
the old gentleman, and then attend Miss to some of the many 
[illegible] of pleasure your gay city affords. My dear boy 
I wish you every pleasure that Christmas, & every happi- 
ness that life possesses. 

T too have scraped my face with a dull razor, put on a 
clean, tho ragged, shirt, but alas! have neither pretty girls 
to visit nor fat turkeys to carve. — I have just received a 
formal petition from: & have granted permission to a party 
of my company to celebrate the day ; they have bespoke a 
dinner at a public house (the best our Town affords), have 
elected a President & V. P., — proposed toasts with all the 


hilarity & independence of true Americans. Poor Devils, 
they sec hard times enough and deserve, if any men do, the 
privilege of sweetening the bitter eup of life that has fallen 
to their lots. 

I received your letter & money inclosed by post. The 
paymaster has not visited us since, much to our mortifica- 
tion you may suppose. But why the Devil did you pay the 
postage on your letter, & why did you not retain the price 
of the Book I purchased of you ! There appears to me an 
unfriendly suspicion that our letters will not be agreeably 
received when we pay the postage — a suspicion that would 
be very unjust & I hope never will be entertained by you 
of me. 

I have very comfortable quarters where I now am — my 
men are healthy & in fine spirits, tho the other Troops are 
very sickly. Genl. Wilkinson has ordered all the troops 
from this post to French Mills except Genl. Harrison's & 
the artillery. The Genl. has issued some very severe Orders 
on the conduct of most of the Genl. officers & of a Court 
Martial. I have not seen them. Colo. Mitchell is with the 
army & very unwell I am told. Ma jr. Johnson is dead. 
Colo. Scott mentions in a letter to Majr. Hindman that 
Genl. W. promised to send me a furlough, the Majr. re- 
ceived this letter on our return from ( )gdensburg but never 
told me of it until the day before yesterday. However I 
could not leave this now since yon have left me. 

I wish you to enjoy every pleasure Phila. affords but you 
must tax your leisure moments for an half hour now and 
then to afford pleasure to your old brother soldier by drop- 
ping; a letter to him (-without the postage paid ). 
Yours, ever, with the- warmest friendship, 



Pin la. 19 Jan. 18 14. 
Dr. Sir: — By the morning Report of the day. I find 
there are 22 reported sick — such of these as are really sick 


must remain — and the company must be filled up by the De- 
tachments of other artillery corps; and these not being suf- 
ficient, by volunteers from such other corps as may be most 
advantageous to the public service. — I wish you to arrange 
this while below — the public service must supercede all other 
considerations. I trust to your making this arrangement so 
effective as that it may be at once issued in an order. \ am 
Dr. Sir Your obd. servt. WM. DUANE 

Adj. Gen. 
Lt. McDoxogh, 2d. Artillery Fcrt Miflin. 

.jTH Military Recruiting District 
Philada. Jan'y 19, 18 14. 
Sir: You will turn over to Lieut. Bunting yCur Ren- 
dezvous, with all the funds & public property in your hands, 
which has been furnished you for the recruiting- service, and 
take his receipts. 

I have the honor to be, sir, Yr obt. servt. 

Inspr. Genl. Comm'dg. 
Lieut. Patk. McDoxogh, 2nd Artillery, Phila. 





In the vear 1815 — the year after the sortie — I resided 
with Gen. Porter in the small fort on the bank of the river, 
back of where my home stands.* I came from Troy with 
him early in July. On onr arrival at Black Rock we found 
only a few houses, which had been put up hastily subse- 
quent to the burning- in December, 181 3. 

There was one company in the smaller fort below. The 
officer commanding the latter very politely offered that to 
Gen. Porter, and removed with his company to the larger 
one, where there was abundance of room for the two com- 

When we moved into those quarters our family con- 
sisted of Gen. Porter, myself and a man-servant who served 
all purposes of cook, waiter, etc. Shortly after, however, 
Air. Covert ( who had been his housekeeper before, and dur- 
ing the first two years of the war and from whom I learned 
many interesting incidents of the war), came on from 
Geneva, and made our quarters more comfortable. 

During that season hardly a day passed that the General 
was not visited by some one of the officers of the army. The 

f The residence of Mr. Bird, still owned and occupied by the family, at Xo. 
111S Niagara Street. 


occurrences of the previous campaigns were of course the 
frequent subjects of remark. Capt. Robert Remitting was 
more than once a visitor and remained with us a day or two. 
He was an officer under Gen. Porters command- at the sor- 
tie, of whom Gen. Porter in his official report remarked that 
"he was. as he always was, in the front of the fight." The 
details of the sortie were much canvassed over, and the 
whole affair was treated by Capt. Remming as an enter- 
prise of Gen. Porter's ; and although I cannot state any par- 
ticular remark, I well recollect he gave the glory of -it to 

Major Donald Fraser was an aid to Gen. Porter; and 
with him 1 was long intimately associated, and had fre- 
quent conversations with him in relation to the war. He 
told me that before the sortie Cols. Wood and McCrea were 
several evenings with Gen. Porter in his quarters, and that 
when they came, he and all others were required to retire; 
that Gen. Porter had interviews with Gen. Brown ; that he 
had no hint or intimation of the object of these interviews; 
that Gen. Porter directed Riddle and himself to cut out the 
road from Towson's battery through the woods, directing 
them how and where to cut, but did not inform them of the 
object; and that he was kept entirely ignorant of the pro- 
posed movement until the evening before the sortie ; that 
in subsequent conversations with Gen. Porter he was in- 
formed that the visits of Wood and McCrea were for plan- 
ning the sortie : that Gen. Brown hesitated and requested 
him (Gen. Porter) to draw up a plan, which he did, in 
writing, and explained it to Gen. Brown ; and that he left 
the paper with him, and that the whole affair was arranged 
by Gen. Porter, Wood, and McCrea. 

Gen. Porter has related to me more than once the same 
circumstances ; particularly, that he gave to Gen. Brown a 
written programme in detail, and that he left the paper 
with him. 

The question is asked. Why is there not a copy of this 
paper? My answer is, the circumstances of the case did not 
allow one to be made. Gen. Porter drew up this programme 
in his own handwriting, to show and explain to Gen. Brown. 


Brown very naturally asked him to leave the paper with 
h;m to consider upon ( fur I think lie did not readily and at 
once fall into it). Gen. Porter could not refuse, nor ask a 
copy ; and it would have been an exercise of extreme caution 
and distrust for him to have taken a copy before showing 
it to Gen. Brown, lie was not seeking credit for himself, 
but was intent on the enterprise in which he was the prin- 
cipal actor, and which resulted so much to the glory of our 
army and to the relief of the anxious inhabitants on this side 
of the river. 

The official reports and history have established the facts 
that Gen. Porter's aids cut out the road from Towson's bat- 
tery, and that Gen. Porter, who had under his immediate 
command only the volunteers and Indians, was that day 
invested with the command of all the troops, regulars as 
well as volunteers ; although there were in the fort several 
officers of the regular army of superior rank — Ripley, 
Gaines and perhaps others not now recollected. These cir- 
cumstances would seem to point him out as the moving- 
spirit and the one responsible for the enterprise. 

I went over to Fort Erie in 1815 with Gen. Porter, Gov. 
Tompkins and others. We went over the whole ground 
where the British batteries were, in the Q(\^ of the woods — 
the batteries even then as they had been left, the broken 
guns and other remnants of the war. Gen. Porter explained 
to Gov. Tompkins the position of the troops and the plan 
of the attack at the sortie. 

When upon the old fort, Gen. Porter explained the at- 
tack made by Col. Drmnmond on the 15th August, when the 
enemy got possession of the bastion at the northeast angle 
of the fort. Fie explained where and how our troops had 
hastily drawn up two pieces of artillery and would have, in 
a few minutes, raked the bastion with grape and cannister, 
which would have been almost as certain destruction to the 
enemy on this bastion, as its explosion [which] occurred at 
the moment, killing Col. Drummond and some 300 or 400 
men. Major Fraser was an aid to Gen. Beacon, and with 
him for some two years after the war. He doubtless fought 
his battles over, and particularly those in which Brown was 

98 m PAPERS OF THE WAR OF 1812. 

in command, and he does not seem to have heard anything 
to alter his opinion and belief in relation to this sortie, fgr 
he invariably stated it to have been planned by Gen. Porter, 
Wood, and McCrea. 





In the possession of the Buffalo Historical Society is an 
old blank-book of ledger- size, which was used as a letter- 
book by Jonas Harrison. In it he copied the letters he 
wrote, and some of those he received, relating to his public 
duties as Collector of Customs for the District of Niagara, 
and afterwards as Collector of Internal Revenue for the 25th 
collection district, which comprised Genesee County and all 
the western part of Xew York State. The first entry in the 
book is dated "Batavia 24th December 181 3," and the last 
"Buffalo, 20 July, 1819." It was at about this last date that 
he ceased to be Collector. The volume was given to the 
Historical Society in 1885 by John Porter, then of Annapo- 
lis, Md., formerly of Lewiston, X. Y. At the back of the 
volume have been written, presumably by Mr. Porter, a brief 
sketch of Mr. Harrison, and some comment on his letters. 
"The author of the foregoing copies of letters," says this 
sketch, "was Jonas Harrison, who at the date of the letters 
was a verv prominent man in Western New York. At the 
date of the first letter, December, 18 13, he was Collector of 


Customs for the District of Xiagara, afterwards appointed 
Collector of Internal Revenue for the 25th collection district, 
which comprised Genesee County and all the western part of 
the State, and which he continued to be until about the date 
of the last copy of a letter. July 20, 18 19. He was the father 
of our late fellow citizen James C. Harrison. He built the 
house that was situated on the corner of Washington and 
Batavia Street [now Broadway], on the present site of the 
Buffalo Savings Bank,* and at the time of its building it 
was considered a wonderful structure, and known all over 
the County of Niagara ( which then included Erie Count}' ) 
as the 'Harrison house.' James C. Harriscn was born in 
that house in the latter part of the year 18 18 or early in the 
year 1819." 

Before quoting further from this sketch it is well to 
present a few of Mr. Harrison's letters. The volume af- 
fords interesting material for a history of the collection of 
Federal revenues in Western Xew York in the early days ; 
but the present purpose is only to draw from it what Mr. 
Harrison wrote regarding certain events of the War of 18 12, 
in some of which he was a participant. In a communication 
to the Hon. Samuel H. Smith, Commissioner of the Reve- 
nue, dated "Batavia, 24th December, 18 13," Mr. Harrison 
wrote as follows : 

Sir: On Sunday morning the 19th inst. the British 
landed unobserved about <;oo Indians and 600 or 700 Regu- 
lars at the Five Mile Meadow, about half way between 
Lewiston and Fort Niagara. They took the Fort about four 
o'clock in the morning without reMStance, and under cir- 
cumstances the most singular. They showed themselves at 
Lewiston about sunrise and strange to tell we had not more 
than three to five minutes notice of their being on our side 
before their Indians were at my house. They, as far as we 
can learn ( for it is said they are still in possession of the 
Country) commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of men, 
women and children, together with burning every house, 
barn, outhouse and hovel that could take fire. The citizens 

* The building opposite the Public Library; the bank moved from it to 
new quarters in iooi. 


about Lewiston and its vicinity below the slope or highland 
that forms the Falls of Niagara escaped by the Ridge Road 
towards Genesee Falls, all going the one road, on foot, old 
and young, men, women and children, living from their 
beds, some not more than half dressed without shoes or 
stockings, together with men on horseback, wagons, carts, 
sleighs and sleds, overturning and crushing each other, 
stimulated by the horrid yells of the 900 savages on the pur- 
suit, which lasted eight miles, formed a scene awful and 
terrific in the extreme. The small military force we had 
were the first to fly. The few Citizens that could previously 
be induced to stand guard had become worn out, and the 
watch at the meadow must have been very unfaithfully kept. 
We now reproach ourselves for having remained so long in 
false security. We have lost our all and the scene is over. 
I escaped with my most valuable papers. My little family 
was ten miles in advance, en the road. They are now with 
me at this place, the Capital cf Genesee County, which I in- 
tend to make my future residence unless driven from it. 
There is a Post Office kept here. I beg that you will be so 
good as to direct your future commands to me here. 
I have the lienor to be . 

Your most obt. servant, 


Six days later Mr. Flarrison addressed the following- 
letter to the Hon. Richard Rush, at that time Comptroller of 
the Treasury : 

Bat avi a, 31st Deer., 1813. 

Sir: Enclosed I have the honor to transmit to you my 
account current for the last quarter of the present year. 

Ere this comes to hand you will doubtless have heard of 
the destruction of Lewiston and the murder of such of its 
citizens as fell into the enemy's hands. Notwithstanding 
what had previously taken place, we bad no evidence that 
the enemy had actually landed on our shore more than five 
minutes before their Indians were at my house. It was 
with considerable difficulty I escaped. I find on examina- 
tion that I have most of the public papers with me, but the 


volumes of the U. S. Laws are gone together with the. book 

in which 1 kept an account of my fees, emoluments, etc., 
which I beg may excuse my not making out one now under 
cath agreeably to former directions and practice ; they how- 
ever for this last year were very trifling, and did not in the 
whole exceed eight dollars. 

The enemy it seems had taken Fort Niagara in the night 
before they came to Lewiston, and that too with such silence 
that we had not the most distant idea of their -having done 
so. Fort Niagara is seven miles down the river and- was 
when taken perhaps one of the most scientific well-found 
fortresses in America, containing at least 200 effectives- in- 
dependent of the sick and impotent of every description — 
this is a fact let the official report ( if any is made ) say what 
it may, but commanded by the same Captain Leonard that I 
have sometimes mentioned in my letters. The public prop- 
erty in the fort must have been immense. We felt in a great 
measure secure at Lewiston from large parties as long fas] 
our troops held Fort Niagara, and no one thought of its 
being given up without a siege. There was little or no force 
at Lewiston except some militia officers. As a force was 
expected on there every day a few of the citizens myself 
among the number voluntarily stood guard at night for the 
purpose of keeping off marauders that might cross from 
Oueenston or other places near Lewiston. 

There was positively but one large gun discharged at 
Fort Niagara at the time it must have been taken. This 
was enough to alarm us and we rallied at a house previously 
agreed upon, but were told by Major Bennett who still 
nominally commanded at Lewiston — I say nominally, for 
his force being with himself militia had principally deserted, 
or rather as they said, gone home, that it was no signal of 
alarm — that the signal of alarm agreed upon by him and 
Capt. Leonard was, if the fort was attacked, three discharges 
from one of his [8-potmders, if there was but one or two 
discharges it was to be considered nothing more than a false 
alarm ; on receiving this information those citizens that 
were not on guard went to their respective houses. I hav- 
ing been up for two or three nights previous threw myself 


on the bed and had well-nigh been caught asleep by their 
Indians. My house, barn, etc., together with my property, 
after being made use of a day or two by their officers were 
reduced to ashes. I have come here as being the nearest 
place of safety, though in fact the citizens here feel them- 
selves unsafe and keep their things packed up ready for a 
move. For my own part I do not believe that the English 
will venture their force so far from the river. 

Your honor will recollect that it has heretofore been the 
custom to adjust my accounts half-yearly, and give me an 
authorization to draw on the Collector of Xew York for 
what was found due. [f that has taken place during the last 
year I have never received the authorization. As I have a 
family to support and now without property of any kind 
except some land that is unproductive, you will confer an 
everlasting kindness by having my accounts immediately 
adjusted and sending me as soon as may be an authoriza- 
tion to draw as before for what may be due, as two hun- 
dred and fifty dollars would be of the utmost importance 
to me. 

Your obliging and successful attention to my request 
relative to the Internal Revenue was calculated at once to 
gratifv delicacv and enforce obligation: With sentiments of 
the greatest respect I have the honor to be, Sir, 
Your most obt. Servt., 


Note. When we left Lewiston it was about sunrise on 
the morning of the 19th. The enemy were then firing a 
Royal Salute from our guns at Fort Niagara which we then 
took for an attack on the fort. 

Note 2d. The enemy are still on our side and hold 
possession of Fort Niagara and scour the remaining country 
by their parties. Some of our people have been to Lewiston 
since the 19th, from whom and other sources I have col- 
lected the foregoing information, that is such as I did not 
before know, with the addition that as far as yet known 
every person that they got in their power except one or two 
that escaoecl after being taken, were immediately killed, or 


killed a short time afterwards. They were principally citizens 
with their families all making their escape as fast as pos- 
sible. Their bodies have been found in holes and laying 
[sic] about the street — in most instances with their heads 
cut off their bodies torn open and their hearts taken out — 
some scalped, some not, but all hacked and cut in the most 
brutal manner, many with their tongues cut out ; some par- 
tially eaten by the hogs — the street is represented as being 
strewed with the dead bodies of cattle, hogs, together with 
human beings. Ail the buildings of any consequence,- also 
stacks of hay and grain for about seven miles each way, that 
is up the river to the Falls and out in the country on the 
Ridge road, are burnt and destroyed. [J. H.J 

Commenting on the foregoing, the sketch above spoken 
of, presumably written by John F'orter, contains the fol- 
lowing : 

"He [Harrison] was evidently, from his letters, a person 
who was inclined to exaggerate in his statements of passing 
events. In his account of the burning of Lewiston and the 
events immediately following ... he states that he 
had only five minutes' notice of the crossing of the river of 
the British and Indians, and in the same letter he states that 
upon leaving, his little family was ten miles in advance — 
rapid traveling for five minutes' notice. He states the num- 
ber of Indians at yoo and of the British 700 or 8oo. The 
true fact was* that there probably was not to exceed 300 or 
400 of both Indians and British. 

"In his second letter he states that men, women and chil- 
dren were indiscriminately massacred. There were only 
two persons killed at Lewiston, both men. One of them a 
Dr. AJvord, and the other was a Giljet. 

"In relation to the taking of Fort Niagara: It was well 
known that the fort was to be attacked by the British at 
least two weeks before it was taken, and all preparations 
made to defend it. even to mounting guns on the block- 
houses and magazine, so as to sweep the inside of the fort. 
Parties were stationed at the Five Mile Meadows, and at the 
battery then called Fort Gray, at the top of the hill above 


Lewiston, to give notice of their [the British] crossing the 
river by firing three guns. The British crossed the river at 
the Five Mile .Meadows before daylight, and probably pre- 
vented the signal being fired at that point, but the signal of 
the British crossing was given at Fort Gray by firing the 
number of guns agreed upon. i ; <>rt Gray was immediately 
above Lewiston where Harrison states he was. and he must 
have been quite deaf if he did not hear them. He states 
truly that Bennett's militia had dispersed at the time of the 

"Captain Leonard, who was in command of Fort Niag- 
ara, was a Revolutionary officer who was unfitted for the 
position he filled. He never was a man of any great ability, 
in fact I think he was a weak man. I knew him well when. 
I was a boy. After the war he owned and. resided at the 
farm known as the have Mile Meadows, where the British 
crossed. At the time that I : ort Niagara was taken his fam- 
ily resided at Four IN 1 ile Creek, on the lake shore four miles 
from the fort. At the time that the fort was taken he was 
visiting his family and there were large numbers of per- 
sons who insisted that he was a traitor and had sold the 
fort to the British. There was never any evidence that such. 
was the case. In fact all those who knew him well scouted 
the idea, and attributed his absence to his want of thought. 
My father, who was on the spot, and who was stationed at 
Fort Gray and gave the signal, always asserted that the loss 
of the fort [ Niagara] was the result of gambling and drink- 
ing by the officers. In conversation with Benjamin Barton, 
late of Lewiston, and who was a quartermaster in the army 
in 1812, they both agreed that die officers in charge had 
been gambling and drinking all night and were all asleep 
when tlie attack was made, and from the fact that the fort 
had been prepared and that they knew the attack was to be 
made there is great probability that this was the case." 

In Mr. Harrison's correspondence during the year 18 14 
there is much that illustrates the confused state of the dis- 
trict. The destruction of the postoffices at Lewiston and 
Manchester (Niagara), and later at Buffalo, occasioned 


him much annoyance. "It is very difficult," he wrote. Jan. 
3, 1814. "doing business as the country is in great contusion 
and I have to pack my papers very frequently in consequence 
of alarms." He was in doubt what to do with the money 
he collected for licenses, not daring to send it by mail. ( )n 
Jan. 18th he wrote to the Hon. Richard Rush that one 
Robert Lee had arrived at Batavia from [Jpper Canada, 
"where he was taken on the enemy's getting possession of 
Fort Niagara." Lee related to Air. Harrison all the circum- 
stances of the surrender of the fort, and made affidavit to 
his narrative, which was written out and sent to Mr. Rush 
at Washington "as the only paper like a correct account (as 
far as it govs) that has as yet been penned of the surrender 
of that important Post. Mr. Lee," Mr. Harrison added, "is 
a Gent, of intelligence and had as good an opportunity of 
knowing the true state of things as perhaps any other person 
in the Fort. When you have read the affidavit perhaps it 
may not be an unimportant document for the Congressional 
Committee raised for investigating the conduct of the enemy 
in regard to his prosecution of the war. The Enemy still 
hold the Fort and are engaged in strengthening it."* 

DeWitt Clinton wrote to him from Xew York, Jan. 20, 
1814, asking for "a correct and detailed account" of the 
situation. Air. Harrison replied at some length, but the let- 
ter contains no important particulars not to be found else- 
where. "That your heart is wounded by the destruction of 
our frontier and the slaughter of its inhabitants," he wrote, 
"is another evidence of those feelings of philanthropy and 
love of countrv that your numerous friends have long known 
were predominant in your breast. If other important events 
occur on this frontier and T am among the inhabitants of this 
world I shall not fail of giving you a detailed account of 
them." The troubles of his office, and politics — he declined 
a nomination for State Senator about this time — evidently 
absorbed his thought, for the promised detailed account does 

* Mr. Harrison's letter-hook does not contain the deposition of Roh^rt Lee; 
hut in the Buffalo Gasette of Jan. 25, 1814, may he found a detailed statement 
on the subject, by Lee, substantially the same, it is probable, as that referred to 
by Mr. Harrison. It is republished in Ketchura's History of Buffalo, Vol. II., 
appendix, pp. 404-405- 


not appear. On April f)th h" wrote from Batavia to Mr. 
Smith that "in consequence of the great difficulty of procur- 
ing a house or accommodations at this place, and also of my 
former residence &c. in the Count}- of Niagara I have com- 
menced building something that 1 can live in. in Buffalo 
in the said County of Niagara, where I shall immediately 
remove. Buffalo is the most central place in the district. A 
postomce was formerly kept there, and will he again in the 
course of a week. Ue pleased to address your future com- 
mands to me at 'Buffalo, Niagara County, X. Y.' " And 
tints Jonas Harrison joined the growing hand of those who 
wiped out the traces of war and worked together in the 
building- of a new Buffalo. But the year 1814 was one of 
many alarms in the struggling village. Under date of 
"Buffalo, July 16, 1814," Mr. Harrison wrote to the Hon. 
Ezekiel Bacon : 

Sir : About 700 of our troops marched from here last 
week down on this side of the Niagara River and encamped 
on the ground where Lewiston formerly stood. Our army 
under Genl. Brown being encamped at Oueenston on the 
opposite side of the river. Though our scouting parties 
have frequently been into Lewiston since the 19th of Decem- 
ber last (the time when the British drove us away and burnt 
up the village) we have had no regular possession of the 
place or a force capable of staying there even one night until 
the encampment above mentioned. The nearest onr troops 
have been encamped during the winter was at Hardscrabble 
on the Ridge Road six miles distant from Lewiston, Lewis- 
ton being about half way between that and Fort Niagara 
where the British now are and have since the 19th of Decem- 
ber continued to be in possession, scouring the country with 
their patrolling parties. Our people being now in posses- 
sion [of I the place and I feeling no disposition or ability to 
return there shortlv, having lost my buildings, property. &c, 
I beg leave to resign the ( )fffce T have held as Collector of 
the Customs for the District of Niagara. If it should be 
thought necessarv to fill the office by an appointment will 
you permit me to recommend Rufus Spaulding Esquire as 
a person every way qualified to faithfully discharge any 


duties that may appertain to the said office. Mr. Spaulding 
was driven from the country with the rest of us, but has now 
returned to his farm within about four [miles] from 

With everv sentiment of respect I have the honor to be, 

Your most obt. Servt 


Xote. There has been nothing to do in the office since 
the commencement of the war. All intercourse between the 
District and Upper Canada having of course been interdicted 
by the successive military commanders. As to coasting 
trade, there lias been no American vessels on the lake but 
what was taken into the United States service. 

The next entry in the old letter-book is dated Lima, On- 
tario Co., X. V., August 26, 1814. "I have removed all the 
papers, books, &c. belonging to the Government * to this 
place," Mr. Harrison wrote to the Hon. Samuel H. Smith. 
'"The present situation of the District imperiously demanded 
such a measure. I hope my conduct in this particular may 
meet your approbation, in the District business of every 
kind except what relates to the Army is pretty much at an 
end and the inhabitants moving in every direction. I have 
removed the papers three times within two weeks and now 
as you see have got them without the District where 1 hope 
they may be safe. I shall leave them and my family here, 
but return myself immediately to Buffalo, where 1 beg you 
will continue to forward your directions to me. for in case 
that Post Office is broken up the mail for it will be opened at 
the nearest office to that place that is not broken up.'' 

Xo notice appears to have been taken of his proffered 
resignation at the time. By Nov. 1st Mr. Harrison had his 
family and the papers of his office back in Buffalo. ^h\ 
March 8. 1815, he wrote at length to the Hon. Alexander J. 
Dallas, who had recently assumed the duties of Secretary of 
War, in addition to those of Secretary of the Treasury. 


rehearsing the facts in regard to the destruction of 
Lewiston. Stating that the English were still in possession 
of Fort Xiagara. and that "no person has as yet attempted 
to erect a building at Lewiston the Port of Entry for the 
District of Xiagara nor in fact at any other place on that 
district which extends from Oak ( )rchard Creek to Xiagara 
Falls, . . . and as it is probable on the breaking up 
of winter our people will obtain some vessels and com- 
mence a sort of commerce which together with other mat- 
ters will require a Custom House again to be kept at Lewis- 
ton," he again proffered his resignation. Finally, May 31, 
181 5. in a letter in which he states that "Fort Xiagara hav- 
ing the other day been given up to our troops and people 
beginning to build at Lewiston," he informs Mr. Dallas 
that he has appointed a deputy collector at Lewiston,— "and 
you will be pleased to accept my resignation of the said 

In relation to his work as Collector of Customs, and sub- 
sequently as Collector of Internal Revenue, the correspond- 
ence between Mr. Harrison and his superior officers, up to 
July 2D, 1819 — the date of the final entries in the book — 
contains much of value; but after the spring of 181 5 it 
belongs to other phases of Western Xew York history than 
that which we seek especially to discover in this connection, 
namelv, of the War of 18 12. 



OF THE YEAR i 8 i 7. 




Left New London, Connecticut, at 8 p. m.. Wednesday, 
Sept. 10, 181 7. A shameful detention at night at New 
Haven as Capt. Bunker of the Connecticut determined to 
wait till morning for passengers from Commencement. 
(Yale College. ) 

Sept. 11. Penned a letter for insertion in the New 
York Evening Post on the above misconduct. Reached 
New York at 6 p. m., saw Messrs. Winthrup & McCormick. 
I went to the play "Bunker Hill" and "Robinson Crusoe." 
A most wretched performance, the theater good, tolerably 
filled ; Barnes the only tolerable actor, I recollect him and 
his wife on the Plymouth Boards. 

Friday, Sept. 12. At Gibson Hotel where I sleep the 
thermometer in my close bed-room is 85 degrees. Dined 

* The original journal copied by his son. Henry A. Laftgslow of Rochester, 
N. V., in 1S06. at the suggestion of Erastus Harrow; read at a meeting of the 
Rochester Historical Society. April, iSg6; copy presented to the Buffalo His- 
torical Society by the Rochester Historical Society, George May Elwood, presi- 
dent. Now first published. 


with Mr. McCormick and went in the evening to West's 
Equestrian Expedition; tolerably entertaining. 

Saturday, Sept. 13. Saw yesterday the American Mu- 
seum and spoke to Mr. Skndder about Capt. Wilson's elec- 
tric eel. Finding there is no chance of my having Mr. 
Featherstcnehough for a companion in the steam-boat on 
Tuesday, suddenly resolved to prosecute my route this after- 
noon and at 5 p. m. repair on board the Richmond steam- 
ship from [as. Winthrup's where I dined. The boat well 
regulated. Left a line for Capt. Douglass at West Point. 
Mr. & Mrs. Livingston passengers. At Poughkeepsie the 
scenery beautiful on each side. ' In spite of the deprivation 
of light distinguished the high hills of Xeversink, at one 
time approximating the river close at each side sufficiently 
to form an idea of the romantic view they present by (lay- 
light; slept well and comfortably, but somewhat ailing. 

Sunday. Sept. 14. A pleasant change in the weather, a 
little rain and the air cool and bracing. Mr. Raynaud of 
Schenectady a passenger, a refugee from St. Domingo in 
1794; had suffered much. He is an acquaintance of Mr. 
Featherstonehaugh's. At half past 4 landed at Albany, 
called on Mr. Chas. Smith to whom I delivered Mr. Bu- 
chanan's (vice consul's) letter. He assisted me with advice 
and information and saw me off at 6 in a two-horse stage 
for Schenectady which was reached before 9. Got tea, etc., 
and went to bed. Albany is pretty, the State Street fine and 
the views in the neighborhood interesting, the road to 
Schenectady rough. Left this place before 6 a. m. and 
crossed a fine bridge to the north side of the Mohawk, in 
the Albany stage for Utica, more of a wagon than a coach ; 
fare $6.00. Changed at Amsterdam, 15 miles; a poor place, 
an excellent mill-stream : town improving : Johnstown or 
Canawauga, 5 miles. The church was built by Sir Win. 
Johnson who with Sir John Johnson is held in detestation 
bv the Americans for ravages corftmitted on this and other 
towns by the Tories and Canadian Indians between 1772 <x 
1780. Two miles before we came to Johnstown is Tribe's 
Hill, from whence is an extensive and very beautiful pros- 
pect. The turnpike runs all the way to Ctica on the north 

OF THE YEAR 1817. 113 

side of the river. Reached Canajoharie to dinner between 
12 & 1 ; 15 miles from Johnstown and 49 north-west from 
Albany. Dined comfortably for half a dollar. Started 
again at half past one. raining fast, consequently I was pre- 
vented seeing- as much as I could wish of this interesting 
scenery, the river in sight most of the way, but very shal- 
low; a few islands. 1 saw no boats passing. Village of 
Palastine [Palatine] 6 miles from Canajoharie, a small 
place. Little Falls 20 miles from Palastine & 74 from 
Albany, beautiful in the extreme, the falls pretty and the 
road c>ver and between rocks truly romantic. There are 
several locks here by which the boats proceed round the 
falls. All very interesting and well worth seeing. The 
pleasing and elegant village of Herkimer 7 miles from Little 
Falls and 78 from Albany, I was delighted with. We 
changed horses at 6 here but I could not see much of it as 
the rain continued. Passed over the bridge and reached 
Utica on the south side of the Mohawk at y 2 past 8 ; a good 
inn Baggs'. Much fatigued and sore from the violent jolt- 
ing; as the stages go on at 3 a. m. I deem it prudent to halt 
till the following morning, my late complaint having re- 

Utica, Sept. 16. Employed writing my journal. Dis- 
patched a long letter to X. London written chiefly on the 
steamboat on Sunday. Went to a Doctor Wolcott's and got 
some T. theban : he had no T. cinnamon ; took a large dose. 
My watch inspected by a watchmaker, find the hands were 
loose, done by the motion of the stage. Went to the Union 
Bank and got cash for $20.00 in bills to avoid taking small 
bills on my route ; also got two pieces of gold changed for 
Si I Y\. Walked round the town which is prettily built. 
rather extensive, no remains of old Fort Schuyler. Whites- 
borough, distance 4 miles, and Rome 12 miles; no particular 
object worth noticing. Three Scots gents from Boston re- 
turning from the Falls, very pleasant. Messrs. Wood and 
Seaman gone on to Geneva, the former left a handkerchief 
with English letters. I take it on for him. Obtained great 
information from Mr. Seaman, he lived generally at Wash- 
ington Hall. X. Y. Find a portion of the mercury in the 

OF THE YEAR 1817. 113 

side of the river. Reached Canajoharie to dinner between 
12 & 1 ; 15 miles from Johnstown and 49 north-west from 
Albany. Dined comfortably for half a dollar. Started 
again at half past one. raining fast, consequently I was pre- 
vented seeing as much as I could wish of this interesting 
scenery, the river in sight most of the way, but very shal- 
low ; a few islands. I saw no boats passing. Village of 
Palastine [Palatine] 6 miles from Canajoharie, a small 
place. Little Falls 20 miles from Palastine & 74 from 
Albany, beautiful in the extreme, the falls pretty and the 
road over and between rocks truly romantic. There are 
several locks here by which the boats proceed round the 
falls. All very interesting and well worth seeing. The 
pleasing and elegant village of Herkimer 7 miles from Little 
Falls and 78 from Albany, I was delighted with. We 
changed horses at 6 here but I could not see much of it as 
the rain continued. Passed over the bridge and reached 
Utica on the south side of the Mohawk at y 2 past 8 ; a good 
inn Baggs'. Much fatigued and sore from the violent jolt- 
ing ; as the stages go on at 3 a. in. I deem it prudent to halt 
till the following morning, my late complaint having re- 

Utica, Sept. 16. Employed writing my journal. Dis- 
patched a long letter to X. London written chiefly on the 
steamboat on Sunday. Went to a Doctor Wolcott's and got 
some T. theban : he had no T. cinnamon ; took a large dose. 
My watch inspected by a watchmaker, find the hands were 
loose, done by the motion of the stage. Went to the Union 
Bank and got cash for $20.00 in bills to avoid taking small 
bills on my route ; also got two pieces of gold changed for 
Si 1 24. Walked round the town which is prettily built, 
rather extensive, no remains of old Fort Schuyler. Whites- 
borough, distance 4 miles, and Rome 12 miles; no particular 
object worth noticing. Three Scots gents from Boston re- 
turning from the Falls, very pleasant. Messrs. Wood and 
Seaman gone on to Geneva, the former left a handkerchief 
with English letters. I take it on for him. Obtained great 
information from Mr. Seaman, he lived generally at Wash- 
ington Hall, X. Y. Find a portion of the mercury in the 


thermometer shaken up to 180 degrees, obliged to use boil- 
ing water to reunite the lower part to the upper. My tele- 
scope also much disordered and a little broken, all by the 
astonishing- violence of the motion of the stage on the rough 
roads. Inspected the boats used on the Mohawk. They 
answer Schultz 's* description. Determine to take the Buf- 
falo Road. It is nearer by 25 miles than the Ridge Road to 
Lewiston and Fort Niagara. The Steamboat ceased to run 
farther than the Genesee River from Sackett's Harbor on 
the 5th inst, so abandon all thoughts of navigating Take 
Ontario as the weather is unpromising and there is no public 
conveyance to Oswego. 

Wednesday, Sept. 17. Called up at 2 and started in the 
stage at 3 a. m. Xear day-break when we reached the vil- 
lage of New Hartford four or five miles from Utica and 
soon after by violent jolts the leather strap supporting the 
carriage on one of the fore-springs gave way and nearly 
upset us. Delayed some time in fixing a long thick spar 
lengthways under the carriage to support it, and now hav- 
ing lost the little vibration of the spring we are worse off 
than ever. Clinton College in sight ; 2 miles on the left 

* Travels on an Inland Voyage through the States of New York, Penn- 
sylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. . . . performed in the 
years jSu/ and 1808. ... by Christian Schultz, Tun. Esq. Two vols., 
New York, 1S10. The best record of travel and observation in America, for 
the period named. Schultz visited Buffalo, Niagara Falls, etc., in August, 
3807, and made full and graphic record of what he saw. In 1809 James 
Fenimore Cooper was on the Niagara, but we have no detailed narrative of 
his sojourn. From 181 2 to 18 15 the war put a stop to tourist travel into the 
region. In 181 5 the procession was continued by Levi FJeardsley, whose 
Reminiscences, etc. (New York, 185.0, give many valuable glimpses of local 
conditions in the year named. The next year came David Thomas, whose 
Travels through the Western Country in the Summer of 1S16 (Auburn, 
N. Y., 1819). contains some account of the new Buffalo, but not of Niagara 
Falls. These and the valueless 'Travels in Xorth America of "George Phillips" 
(Dublin, lS-'-O. bring us to the time of Capt. Langslow's visit. The year 181 7 
marked the beginning of a new era of tourist travel to the Niagara. Of visitors 
to the region in that year, who recorded their impressions in books, were 
E. Montule (.-/ I'oyage to Xorth America, and the West Indies, in 1S17. London, 
1821), Joseph Sansom (Sketches, etc., New York, 1817), Frederick Tolfrey ( The 
Sportsman in Canada, 2 vols., London, 1845^, and President James Monroe, 
whose Tour, recorded by S. Putnam Waldo (Hartford, 1818). had brought the 
distinguished tourist to Buffalo and the Niagara in August. less than a month 
before Capt. Langslow. Of books describing the region at that tune, and for 
some years to come, Schultz's work was by all odds the best. 

OF THE YEAR 1817. 115 

and near to it is Paris. Manchester is 8 [ /j miles and Vernon 
17 miles from I. tica, which we did not reach to breakfast 
until 9 o'clock owing to our accident. Four or five miles 
farther enter Oneida Castle, a straggling Indian village, ex- 
tends two or three miles up a very steep hill, the gents 
obliged to walk up it, saw several Indians, complection 
lighter than I expected, their dress curious ; many with 
English hats, their hair long, blaCK and straight. 

Lenox, a long scattered town 12 miles from Vernon. 
Sullivan, two miles distant on the left; immense woody 
tracts on each hand, down even to the edges of the road ; 
hills in all directions covered with trees. Romantic scenery, 
road very bad. Passed Canaseraga and soon after reached 
the village of Chittinango and changed horses ; a steep rise 
of three miles from the town, on the top a fine fresh spring, 
a few yards from Clark's Inn. We visited it and tasted the 
pure element ; weather warm ; a fine view of Oneida Lake 
from the heights ; it appears about 5 miles distant, stretch- 
ing to the north. Passed through Manlius, formerly Sinai, 
and Jamesville, two new villages about 5 miles apart, be- 
tween 4 & 5 ; at the entrance of the latter on the hill whence 
you descend to the village is a tasty house and very beautiful 
garden lately occupied by a Mr. Sanford, an enviable resi- 
dence. At 6 p. m. to dinner Onondaga Hollow, only 50 
miles from Utica. At the entrance of it is a very handsome 
stone house of Judge Foreman ; soon dispatch our meal and 
walk ftp the steep out of town; very hilly and woody; the 
evening closing in, adieu to the prospect ; with the darkness 
came rain. At Marcellus, 10 from Onondaga and 6 from 
Skeneatles. left some passengers, hence to our lodgings, it 
poured torrents. I have been unwell all the afternoon, in 
spite of laudanum ; obliged to make up my mind to halt at 
Skeneatles for the next day ; we did not reach it till past 
11 o'clock. 4 hours later than customary. Find myself in- 
capacitated for proceeding by the morning's stage. 

Thursday. Sept. 18. At Skeneatles. A little relieved by 
a good night's rest, take laudanum frequently. 
The Inn ( kept by Mr. Sherwood ) and is no great thing, is 
within ten yards of the lake, a pretty view and was I well 


should certainly try to take a few trout and pickeral in which 
the lake abounds. Passed the morning in writing and at 
noon sent oft" a letter to X. London which will go across 
the country from Albany to Hartford and arrive I hope in 
4 or 5 days. 

Friday, Sept. 19. After a good night's rest and feeling 
better for the cinnamon and laudanum I got at a Dr. Colvin's 
yesterday, got into the stage at 5 a. m. and proceeded over 
a fair road to Auburn, 7 miles; a flourishing town; hand- 
some courthouse and jail underneath it, building; rich soil; 
much cultivation, fine weather. Proceeded to Cayuga on 
the lake of that name, 9 miles from Auburn (which is on the 
Owasco). Breakfasted on bass and perch from the lake and 
crossed the fine new bridge over the lake, one mile and 8 
rods in length, toll for the team 1 dollar and 50 cents. 
Seneca 3 miles, a handsome town ; in a state of improve- 
ment ; a capital hotel where I saw Mr. Seaman. Delivered 
to him Mr. Wood's handkerchief containing letters which he 
had left at Utica. Walked over the bridge on the creek, 
which with the canal is repairing. Lake distance to miles, 
along the bank of the Seneca River to Waterloo 4 miles, 
lately built and named in compliment to Wellington ; rapidly 
improving; many buildings proceeding; country fine and 
soil fertile. At 1 reached Geneva, 7 miles from Waterloo, 
here I saw Mr. Seaman, not the Seaman above mentioned ; 
two capital churches, Presbyterian and Episcopal, situated 
on the lake, a most beautiful place. 

At 4 p. m. reached Canandaigua on the lake of that 
name, 16 miles from Geneva and 20S from Albany; a most 
interesting place. The buildings superior ; dined heartily 
and feel much better. Xo stage for Buffalo or Lewiston 
till Monday. A Mr. DeForrest from York, U. Canada, has 
offered me a conveyance, took an airing in his comfortable 
carriage and amongst other fine houses passed a Mr. 
Granger's, the handsomest in the place. I recollected that 
he was an acquaintance of Mr. Coles and called on my re- 
turn ; he was from home, but Mrs. Granger chatted with 
me for half an hour. There is here the handsomest collec- 
tion of houses I have seen in anv place of its extent, gen- 

OF THE YEAR. 1S17. 117 

erally built distinct in the village style; two churches and 
a court-house; the Inn good and a handsome building from 
whence is a view of the lake to the left. As Mr. De Forrest 
talks of starting early with his daughter in the carriage, 
retire to bed early. 

Saturday, Sept. 20. Wrote a letter to X. London and 
left it at the post-office as 1 passed it at 10 o'clock in Mr. 
De Forrest's carriage. A daughter of the Mr. Mills who 
keeps the Inn at Canandaigua accompanies us to go io 
school at York, Canada; so our party consists of four be- 
sides the driver, who is to be Mr. De Forrest's clerk. Fine 
weather and road, but hilly and a delightful country. 
Passed through E. Bloomfield and soon after reached \Y. 
Bloomfield, a beautiful village 13 miles from Canandaigua, 
where we halted to refresh on peaches. Here Mr. and Mrs. 
Mills took leave of their daughter and returned to Canan- 
daigua. Moved on to Rowe's Inn, 14 miles from Canan- 
daigua. and dined on Roast-beef. At 5 passed Lima and 
soon after Avon, where we were ferryed over the Genesee 
River, pay toll for carriage and all 3 shillings. A bridge 
is began to be built, the two piers of stone nearly finished 
50 yards across. Reached Caledonia at 8, a good Inn and 
fair bed, the landlord's name Bowen. 

Sunday, Sept. 21. Off at daybreak, bad road, did not 
reach Batavia, 17 miles, till near 11 to breakfast; 2 r ^ miles 
from Albany and 40 from Buffalo, a poor Inn by W. 
Keyes. The Tonawanda Creek passes by it with a good 
bridge across which leads to Leicester, 22 miles. At Ba- 
tavia is build a gqod Episcopal Church, but at present one 
edifice suffices for court-house, meeting-house, jail and 
tavern. Proceeded at noon and reached Pembroke, 1 1 miles, 
a decent Inn. Road very bad, mostly log causeway; log 
houses numerous. Passed through the long and fertile 
township of Clarence, entered Niagara County about 4 p. m. 
At 7 drank tea at Major Miller's Inn, 11 Mile Creek, being 
that distance from Buffalo. The road better, and being fine 
moonlight got into Buffalo soon after 10; knocked them up 
at Pomerot's [Pomeroy'sj as Landing's [Landon's] Inn 
was too full to accommodate us all ; poor attendance. 


Monday, Sept. 22. Unwell. . . . Packets for Erie 
uncertain ; one expected to sail from Fort Erie ( Capt. 
Baird's ) in a day or two. Moved toward the river at io; 
paid our extravagant bill, two thirds of which was my share, 
2 dollars. The beach road so heavy that Mr. De Forrest 
and I walked the whole way, near 3 miles, much fatigued. 
I left 10 pieces of clothes at Mr. Landing's [Landon's] Inn 
to be washed against my return, as [ do not mean to go to 
Pomeroy's. Crossed the Ferry from Black Rock to Erie be- 
tween 11 & 12. Twelve shillings for the carriage and 2 
shillings besides for each person. The rain coming down 
heavy. Mr. De Forrest pointed out to me all the interesting 
objects. I feel very unwell indeed ; our road close along 
Niagara River; the falls 16 miles from the Ferry House. 
Passed Chippaway. saw some soldiers of the 70th and an 
officer, a company under Capt. Swinney posted at the small 
fort here. About 5 miles above the falls saw the mist and 
heard the roar soon after reached the rapids. The rain con- 
tinues heavy, our view obstructed. About 4 p. m. caught a 
view of the falls. Too unwell to descend to them, even had 
the weather been sufficiently favorable. At 5 reached the 
Falls Inn kept by a Mr. Forsyth. Flere Mr. De Forrest de- 
termined to stay the night, his horses. being knocked up. 
The weather miserable. I found myself so unwell that had 
the weather even allowed us, I would not have descended to 
the falls, so determined to take the stage as it passed for 
Xewark* and inspect the falls on my way back. 

At 6 the stage arrived, I got into it ; my only com- 
panion a most gentlemanly man. proved to be Capt. Reed 
of the U. S. Navy, well known to Mr. and Mrs. Stewart. 
This was pleasing particularly as I was so ill, the quantity 
of laudanum rendered me almost delirious. The rain pour- 
ing, coach cover a farce. Reached Fort George between 
8 & 9 and went to the Inn kept by Abm. Rogers, got tea etc, 
very comfortably. Obliged to take more opiate in the night. 

Tuesday, Sept. 23. Breakfasted in company with Capt. 
Reed, who soon after went across to the American Fort. 
Very unwell from the laudanum, but better in other respects. 

* Now Niagara, Ont. 

OF THE YEAR 1817. 119 

Took my letters to Air. Wybault (the Company Gen'l) & 
Col. Evans, the former absent, expected home to-night, the 
latter with Mrs. Evans very glad to see me. I promised to 
dine at the Mess if well enough, returned to the Inn and laid 
down. Dreadful weather. Air. De Forrest arrived about 
noon, no steamboat from Kingston in, better after taking- a 
nap. Talked with a Major Davies of the 99th (Fort George, 
Newark or W. Niagara). 

Tuesday, Sept. 23. Dined at the A less of the 70th Regt., 
to which Col. Evans took me in a neat wagon and pair. A let 
a Lieut. Goldfrap, brother to him 1 formerly knew in the 
Company's Service & Burls, he told me his brother had 
taken orders and got a good living in Norfolk ; promised 
to dine with Lt. G. at the Mess to-morrow ; a very pleasant 
party, Capt. Green (just going to relieve Capt. Swinney at 
Chippaway), Lts. White, McCoy, Sanson, Dr. Turnden, etc., 
the latter at Capt. Evans request had called to talk to me 
and now gave me 10 powders of the Creta compos, cinna- 
mon, etc. Drank very freely of Port only ; Claret, etc. 
were going in profusion. They live well and have a good 
Mess Room. The Barracks ( not men and officers ) are in- 
famous ; left the Mess with Col. Evans between 10 & 11 
and had a dreadful walk to the Inn, where the Col. left me, 
walked through water up to the knee, the rain poured all 
the time and nearly a mile to go. The wine preserved me 
from a cold and I had a better night. 

Wednesday, Sept. 24. Weather somewhat clearer, 
passed the morning at Col. Evans, Mrs. Evans, a very pleas- 
ant woman, Scots I suspect ; he is from Staffordshire, much 
conversation on that and adjoining counties. The Col. knew 
the Phillips' & Leakes near Shifnal. Slaneys, etc. ; and many 
Shrewsbury people. Airs. Evans knew Airs. Brown and 
family intimately and declared that about 2 years ago the 
all-accomplished Airs. Brown made a runaway match with 
a Air. Finch, a man in all respects inferior to her, and that 
Air. Finch has since purchased into the Life or Florse- 
Guards. Took my leave of the friendly, hospitable couple 
at 3 o'clock, the weather being tine and visited the works at 
Massasauga. the opposite point to Fort Niagara, a strong 


little star fort with a block tower in the center as a last hold 
after the American fashion. Better to-day for the Port 
Wine, intend to repeat it to-night. In my way to the Mess 
visited Fort George about a mile higher up than Massasauga 
and commanded from the American side ; it has been cur- 
tailed one half. Gen'l. Brock lies under the flagg-stafl in 
the highest Bastion, and I walked over the grave of this 
gallant soldier. Found on reaching the Mess, that Col. 
Grant the Company Officer has returned from his excursion 
from Grand River, he soon after joined the party with' Capt. 
Heixley (formerly of the 87th ), Capt. Tredenniek, etc. The 
Col. paid me great attention and pressed me very hard to 
dine to-morrow but I have resolved not to loose the oppor- 
tunity of the stage. Heard much of poor Blake who had 
visited the port, Quebec, etc., and in all places conspicuous 
and rediculous by his red mustach and scarlet dress, but I 
understood he had been treated every where with great hos- 
pitality. The Col. had seen him at Kingston. We had 
much conversation regards many Bengal officers the Col. 
knew. He has a brother on the Madras establishment. Left 
the Mess between 9 & 10 and called on Mr. Wybault on my 
way home, a very gentlemanly young man, regretted much 
his being absent, pressed me hard to stay, etc. 

Thursday, Sept. 25. Rose early after a bad night and 
packed up. Breakfasted for the last time with Mr. De For- 
rest's family. They were just starting for York in a Sloop 
hired for the Trip. Mr. Wyhanlt called on me and brought 
a letter for Mr. Asst. D. Com. Gen'l Stanton at Fort Erie, 
who he said might prove useful to 'me. At 9 crossed the 
Ferry to Fort Niagara. Capt. Reed was there, he intro- 
duced me to his relation Mr. Smith (the engineer officer su- 
perintending the improvements of the fort), and to Col. 
Pinckney. the Comt of the Garrison. Took a hasty view of 
the works and some of the soldiers who were paraded. Has- 
tened back as I knew the stage was waiting, just in time for 
it. Ferry between half a mile and ^4 broad, took half an 
hour to cross and return, exclusive of the time I staid. The 
w r orks at Fort Niagara going on slowly, we were long in 
passing of them and only delivered them up on the Peace. 

Or THE YEAR 1S17. 121 

Started on the stage at 10 a. m. with 3 rough companions, 

one a Scotchman from Jamaica, seeking an establishment 
in the sugar boiling line. Going to Pittsburgh (my route), 
and eventually to New Orleans. Passed through Queens- 
town, a poor town in a hollow 7 miles from Ft. George. 
Lewiston, a pretty looking place on the opposite side of the 
Niagara River; ascended the heights and passed over the 
battle ground about a mile from the town, the remains of 
several small works and redoubts. A tall pole like a Hag- 
staff erected on the spot where Gen'l Brock fell ; about 300 
yards from the road on the right hand, a little farther on is a 
block house and out work, 400 yds. on the right of the road 
and apparently newly erected. 

At half past 12 reached Forsyth's Inn, 5 miles from 
Queenstown and 4 from Chippaway ; got a boy at Forsyth's 
to accompany me to the falls. Surveyed them first from 
Table Rock and descended about 30 or 40 ft. with some ap- 
prehension. The road onward toward the falls so bad, steep 
and wet that 1 could not get within 500 yards of them by 
this route, so after surveying them from a distance re- 
ascended the ladder and returned to the stage, having been 
absent nearly two hours. Flow much astonished and grati- 
fied it would be needless for me to attempt to describe, but 
certainly' the most wonderful and astonishing sight I ever 
beheld. For a description see Schultz and many other trav- 
elers, it is far beyond my powers. Half way between For- 
syth's and Chippaway the hinder axle tree of the stage broke 
in two by a severe jolt. I committed my Portmanteau to a 
person passing in a wagon and set out on foot to make the 
best of my way to the Barrack at Chippaway where I was 
certain of finding certain of my own cloth to assist me, Capt. 
Sweenev and Lieut. Brown of the 70th. About a mile from 
that place is what the}' call the burning spring. I descended 
to examine it close to the edge of the Niagara River. It is 
situated under the ruins of Clark's mills near Bridgewater, 
which was burnt down by the "enemy" during the war. The 
spring is covered over and from the water is a leaden pipe 
brought up into the building with a common brass cock at- 
tached. The woman turned the cock for the gas to escape 


and placing a lighted candle at the mouth it immediately 
took flame and emitted a fine light like a Torch or Carbonic 
Gas. This was used while the Mills existed to light the 
works below. I tasted the water and it was strongly im- 
pregnated with sulphur. The stage here overtook us, the 
driver having by some mode got it to go and we soon 
reached Chippaway and I recalled my Portmanteau and pro- 
ceeded. Did not stop at the Barracks but observed the 
works thrown up for the protection of the bridge, now dis- 
tinguished from another higher up, by a term, King's 
Bridge. There are 2 redoubts that cover and protect the 
passage of it, under flows the dark river of Chippaway, 
which does not mix with the clear stream of Niagara but 
passes 2J/2 miles to the falls and is precipitated over un- 
changed and unmixed. You observe the difference in color 
in the falling torrents with astonishment. 

Four miles further on our spliced axle again gave way 
and I took a seat in a wagon that was passing and was 
kindly offered me. Traveled on 4 or 5 miles to Palmer's 
Inn, 6 miles from the Ferry, where the stage driver hired an 
open wagon and after an hour's wet and cold rode through 
a constant shower of rain and reached the Ferry about 7 
o'clock and with great difficulty I got housed in a Mr. 
Hardson's Inn, a little beyond the ferry house, but a much 
superior one. Slept in a room for the first time with 3 other 
people. W nile they are preparing breakfast I write this on 
Friday the 26th. 

Resolved to continue to Fort Erie 2 miles to consult with 
Mr. Stanton. Capt. Baird's vessel still here and many others 
for Erie, all weather bounds and no appearance of a change 
at present. A hurricane from w. ward with much rain 
through the night, very cold and unpleasant. At 10 walked 
over to Fort Erie, my Scotch friend accompanying me to 
take his passage, road tolerable, distance 2 miles. Found 
Mr. Stanton, delivered my letter, which made him extremely 
attentive, inspected the rooms at the small Inn and passed 
on to the extreme point of the works thrown up by the 
Americans under Gen'l Brown while in possession. They 
terminated at Snake Hill by a redoubt with a small 3 Gun 

OF THE YEAR 1817. 123 

breast work, loo yards advanced which cut up De Watville's 
[De Watteville's] Corps dreadfully in the unsuccessful as- 
sault ordered by Gen'l Drummond. This sandy rise on the 
beach point well merits its name for we disturbed two 
snakes while walking over it, from whence you trace the 
Americans and French all along on your left (the Sea on 
your right), as far as the old fort near a mile distant. 
Called at Mr. Stanton's on my way back and he showed me 
a plan of the works and Batteries, etc., as drawn by Capt. 
Owen, R. X.. lately surveying the coast. We then inspected 
the old fort now in ruins except a small shed lately repaired 
to quarter the Sarg'nts party in. Observed the large cavity 
caused by the accidental explosion of the magazine under a 
Bastion, during our attack which for a moment equally dis- 
concerted both parties but in the end enabled the enemy to 
repel us. Capt. [Col.] Drummond fell after surmounting 
this Bastion and turning the corner of the left stone Bar- 
racks now in ruins. This place would have been strong if 
completed, but orders from home 10 or 12 years ago had 
stopped its further progress. Two of the Bastions and the 
works adjoining were left unfinished and were so at the 
commencement of the war. Major Burke had, however, 
taken some pains to put it in good state of defence ; but he 
was strangely induced to yield it on the first summons, 
though in a few days Gen'l Brock would have succeeded 
him. After thoroughly inspecting the remains and Mr. 
Stanton pointing out the different objects worthy of observa- 
tion corresponding with Capt. O's plan, we passed through 
the ravine down where the enemy made a Sortie and drove 
us from Batteries 1 & 2 when after our unsuccessful assault 
we attempted regularly to invest the place. There is a stile 
[ ? still] a 24-pounder lying in our nearest Battery Xo. 3 
(880 yds. ) as destroyed by the enemy, but now of course un- 
serviceable. Observed a few coins and fragments here and 
there, it appears the affairs, here took place only two years 
ago, about Sept. or Oct. 1815 [1814]. We lost 800 men in 
the unsuccessful assault and it is said almost as many more 
by the subsequent sortie when we were driven from our 
works and Batteries. The enemy's loss per diem within 


their works on the flank and rear of the Fort was as tin- 
Gen'l told Mr. Stanton, 15. Battery Xo. l is on the water 
side close to the high road 1 180 yards from the fort. The 
trees about are much cut and mangled and many of marks 
of balls from the "eflemy" infilating battery on the Buffalo 
side, are still visible. My acquaintance Capt. Douglass of 
the U. S. Engineers superintended the construction of the 
works, particularly that on Snake Hill, which I am told did 
him great credit. He was also very active in the Sortie 
which proved so fatal to us. 

In the road met Lient. Willson of the Royal Engineers 
and Mr. Blackburn an. asst. deputy in the store-keepers ( a 
new) department, and another Gent, a clerk in the same. 
Mr. Stanton introduced me. I found they were fellow 
lodgers at Hardison's and were waiting for a wind to pro- 
ceed up the lake to their post at Amherstburgh, nearly 300 
miles. Mr. Stanton walked with us to the Eerry and pro- 
cured from Mr. Warren (a magistrate here) two of the old 
Indian stone arrow-heads which have been dug up in this 
vicinity: He gave me one and Et. Willson the other. They 
are considered great curiosities from their antiquity and 
curious construction. Wrote a long letter to Xew London 
and a note to the post master at Buffalo with directions re- 
specting any letters that may arrive for me — also a note to 
Mr. Landon of the hotel for the clothes I left to be washed. 
Sawnie volunteered to go on my errand to Buffalo ( 2 miles ) 
and bring my clothes, etc.. if I would pay the Ferryage, to 
this I gladly assented and gave him a dollar with my letter 
and notes. Dined at 5 with Et. Willson and his party up- 
stairs very comfortably. They have a suit of apartments to 
themselves, each a room, as 1 cannot have one 1 shall go to- 
morrow to Mrs. Maxwell's at E. Erie and wait until Mon- 
day when should the wind not become fair I determine to 
cross back to Buffalo, and take the Tuesday's stage home- 

Saturdav, Sept. 27. All the better for the Doctor's pow- 
ders which begin, alas, to get short. Breakfast between 
9 & 10 with Et. Willson's party upstairs. They have been 
now 11 davs waiting for a fair wind and are almost out of 

OF THE YEAR 1S17. 125 

patience. Mr. Blackburn of the Storekeepers Generals 
(Trotter) Department, a very gentlemanly young man. His 
pay and rank as an Asst. Depty. is as a Capt. but he has 
many more advantages ; the Clerk's as Lieut. The uniform, 
blue (staff made) with blue velvet facings and white de- 
partment buttons. At noon proceeded in company with 
these gents to Fort Erie and there took possession of a nice 
single room at Mrs. Maxwell's Inn, to whom Mr. Stanton 
recommended me. On the road from F. George the stage 
driver overtook me and begged to have the two Dollars and 
11 instead of the 3 Drs. he had so fraudulently demanded, 
so I paid him. Lieut. Willson & self dined together at Mrs. 
Maxwell's together with his daughter, the bride and Lieut. 
Jackson of the Royal Navy, married two days preceding. 
A fidler chanced to be in the house, and a dance was kicked 
up in which I participated in Iron-heeled boots, danced with 
Mrs. Jackson and an unmarried sister of hers, we had about 
7 couple & a lively though vulgar and old-fashioned dance, 
the company retired at 1 1 and I went to bed, better than 

Sunday, Sept. 2S. Rose early and in unpacking my 
Portmanteau was petrified in not being able to discover my 
India square shawl and the pocket-thermometer which was 
wrapped in it, recollect having it in my hand the morning I 
packed up to depart from A. Rogers at Fort George, since 
then I have not unpacked merely having taken my writing 
utinsils once or twice from the top of the portmanteau, felt 
confident I must have left them at F. George when packing, 
at 11 procured a horse and determined to retrace my steps 
and endeavor to recover the articles. Owing to the delay in 
catching the mare did not get oil till near one. Passed the 
falls about 4 the Rainbows over them more beautiful than I 
had before seen which I suppose portended rain and the 
Rapids from Chippaway more violent and curling with in- 
creased foam. A captain of a vessel who I gave a lift to in 
the wagon brought in a bundle and not perceiving that a 
broad plank in the bottom [was out], on his alighting found 
his bundle had disappeared below, and he was obliged to go 
back for it 2 or 3 miles. His misfortune reminded me of my 


own and I pushed oh as fast as the little marc could go till 
she was nearly knocked up at Queenstown. I there gave 
her a gallon of oats, I took a glass of hot Brandy and water 
and bread and cheese being the first refreshment t had taken 
from break-fast to l /> past 6 p. m. The last hour stormy and 
bitter cold, nearly dark when I left Queenstown at 7. Drovu 
cautiously, but got some fearful jolts; heavy showers at 
times, my coat wet through. At l / 2 past 8 had the satisfac- 
tion to drive into A. Roger's Inn yard without having met a 
single human being, mounted or on foot, between Kingstown 
[Oueenston] and Niagara. But thank my lucky stars 1 
was rewarded for my toil, the landlord had my shawl and 
thermometer safe in keeping and they were restored to me 
uninjured. Made a hearty supper in high glee, on cold beef 
and tea. I retired to my former pretty comfortable quarters 
early, having seen the poor mare well taken care of. 

Monday. Sept. 29. Dressed early and went out to call 
on Mr. YVybauit, breakfasted with him, and Mr. Campbell, 
a sick friend of his, late of the Commissary. Col. Grant 
joined us and pressed me much to stay as I could not dine 
with him to-day, being engaged to 'Sir. Wybault. The wind 
being still contrary for Erie and the mare being fagged and 
galled induced me to halt. Called on Mr. Farnden the Asst. 
Surgeon and thanked him for the powders which has been 
of such great use to me and got a dozen more, declined any 
fee: married to a niece of McGillivray of the X. W. Co. I 
saw him and the Surgeon's wife ( Garrett ) at Col. Grant's. 
Eat plenty of his fine peaches. Inspected his stores, garden, 
etc. Called on Col. Evans, sorry to find Mrs. Evans confined 
to her room, found the Col. at the Mess and I learned Mrs. 
Evans had been ill from spasms in the stomach, now some- 
what better. Renewed my acquaintance with all the officers 
who were of course surprised tp see me back, much pressing 
to stay, but determine to proceed early to-morrow. 

Saw Capt. Xavasour of the Engineers. Col. Evans in- 
troduced him and astonished me with the information that 
the lady who lives with him is no other than the wife of Mr. 
Ruddell and daughter of Sir T. Dunbar of Liverpool. Mr. 
Ruddell recovered 500 [ ? £ or S] damages instead of 5000. 

OF THE YEAR 1817. 127 

Navasour has promised to marry her as soon as the divorce 
is obtained. Col. Evans corrected much of Mr. Stanton's 
information relative to the attack and affairs at Erie. Major 
Buck (not Burke) of the 8th Foot commanded and surren- 
dered, but Col. Evans says he is not to be blamed. (Observe 
that they served in the same regiment.) A pleasant dinner 
at Mr. Wybault's, drank planty of good port wine, met 
Town Maj. Kemble, he had a brother on the Madras Estab- 
lishment, Native Cavalry, is well informed on India Mat- 
ters. Retired at Rogers' at 10. 

Sept. 30. Started at 7 o'clock, plagued with the harness, 
got some string at Mr. Scott's, pay-master of the 70th, who 
lives 3 miles from Ft. George. Said to be the author of Guy 
Mannering, Waverly, etc. Disappointed in not seeing him. 
These novels are supposed to be sketched by Mr. and Mrs. 
Scott but finished for the press by their brother Walter, such 
the opinion of the officers of the 70th. Turned out of che 
road 3 miles beyond Oueenstown to visit the whirl-pool a 
mile and a half from the high road; road indescribably bad, 
stuck fast, sad work ; at length repaid for my trouble, won- 
derful sight. Did not reach Forsyth's (the half way house) 
to breakfast till 11 o'clock, ran down and took a last look at 
the falls, plucked wild dowers that grew contiguous and 
brought them away as also a specimen of the rock. Washed 
my hands and face in the falling torrent, got back to break- 
fast and met Major Davis, 99th, who was after lands. For- 
syth's people omitted to give the mare water, and finding on 
my way forward she was thirsty ran into a house to get a 
pail, she bolted over the bank to quench her thirst, wagon 
miraculously escaped, I got wet in darting after her. 

Reached the ferry at half past 4. Heard the vessels had 
sailed in the morning! Went on to Fort Erie, and left Col. 
Grant's letter at Mr. Stanton's, also his umbrella. Mr. Stan- 
ton out, did not see him, report confirms all vessels sailed. 
Settled and thanked Mrs. Maxwell, went back in the wagon 
to the ferry, did not get across until dark, great difficult) in 
getting my Portmanteau taken to Landon's. At length a 
man on horseback for half a dollar agreed to take it before 
him, I carrying the coat, etc. A terrible trip. Frequently 


up to my knees in mud, pitch dark, horrid road, readied 
Landon's at 8 wet through with perspiration. Met Mr. I). 
A. Ogden from Qgdensburgh, cousin of Mrs. Evans, on his 
way there. Left Mr. Abraham ( ). behind him. No vessel 
certain for Erie, the wind not fair, determined to start for 
Albany in the morning-, jaded, worn out and sick of my 
travels. I had 3 squirrels ( black ) caught close to the falls, 
their skins with me. Mr. Ogden talks of going from Eort 
George to Erie and Pittsburgh, but not certain, I could not 
bear longer delay. 

Wednesday, Oct. 1. Up at 5, after a good night's rest, 
wind fair for Mne, but hear of no vessel bound there, only 
one for Detroit, direct, the Erie. Therefore no longer hesi- 
tate to take my place in the stage. Start at 6, a sharp frost, 
the first this season, bitter cold, glad I have not to drop down 
the Allegheny, otherwise much disappointed that I should 
have lost my passage, but I recovered my shawl & ther- 
mometer, which of the two perhaps was best. The mist or 
foam of the falls visible all the way to Williamsville, 12 
miles from Buffalo, and a mile beyond. Major Millers Inn at 
11 Mile Creek, where we had stopped before; breakfasted 
at Hutchinson's Inn, comfortably, the condensed mist visible 
a few miles farther owing to the frost, about 50 miles from 
the falls. Rainbows yesterday strikingly beautiful ; I only 
went to Table Rock, not to the ladder. Reached Batavia, 
Mr. Myer's Inn ( where we had stayed before) at 4 o'clock 
and got dinner, paid t t j dollars. Two fellow passengers, 
pleasant men of this neighborhood, a flute player, knew Mr. 
O'Brien ( the Tailor ) of X. London who he said was a very 
clever man and had seen better days ; started at daybreak, 
Thursday. Oct. 2, and breakfasted very comfortably and 
cleanly at Ripley's Inn. Le Roy village. 13 miles. They say 
Ripley took Reall prisoner. Reached Canandaigua at 5 
p. m. ( Mills' ) having dined on raw beef at Rowe's Inn, 
Bloomfield. Met an English & Irish Gentlemen on their 
way to the falls. They had only been a fortnight in this 
country and gave me much information as to the fashions, 
etc.. at home; a famous Presbyterian Preacher, I was too 
tired to jro and hear him. I told Mr. and Mrs. Mills all I 

OF THE YEAR 1817. 129 

knew regarding their daughter with Mr. De Forrest, they 
gave me a wretched bed in return ; off at day-break on 

Oct. 3. Breakfasted at Hotel Geneva, [6 miles. Reached 
Sherwood's ( Skeneateles ) to dinner, beef as usual which 
appeared to be the constant diet of the western counties, 
reached ( hiondaga 1 follow ( Webb's ) at 9 p. in. too tired to 
take supper. Went immediately to bed, in the same room 
with Mr. Brisbane, who had accompanied us from Batavia. 
At Waterloo this morning joined by Mr. Tabor of Xew 
York who immediately recognized me, he had been at the 
Falls. 1 found him a pleasant companion, and also Mr. I n- 
derhill, junior of Canandaigua. 

Saturday. ( )ct. _l. Discovered when too late that I had 
left the key of my Portmanteau at Keyes', Batavia, I told 
his wife who went with us to Cayuga of the circumstance. 
Reached Utica at 8 p. m. I went to the York House kept by 
Bamman, got an excellent supper and bed, had a long chat 
with Mrs. Bamman, she was born at Bath, and had a brother 
of that name ( Thomas ) living near Clifton Springs, a 
leather cutter. I promised to call and tell him I had seen his 
sister, etc. 

Sunday, Oct. 5. Started at 3 a. m. and breakfasted tol- 
erably at Flerkimer, a pretty village, 15 miles, having passed 
Little Falls, half way ; discovered the loss of my tooth pick 
case. Wrote back to Mr. Bamman on the subject, from 
Conynis Inn, 2 miles east of Johnstown ( where we dined ) 
to request if found it might be sent to Mr. McCormick's 
X. Y. who was well known to Mr. Bamman. Arrived at 
Mr. Baird's Tavern | Eagle) Albany, at 11 p. m. 1 went to 
bed immediately much tired, a poor bed. 

Mondav, Oct. 6. From a new arrangement in the Boston 
stage find I shall be two days in reaching Hartford. Walked 
round the town and saw the old residence of Aunt Schuyler 
of Pearl Street with many other old Dutch houses ; called on 
Mr. Smith who got me silver change. At 11 a. m. the stage 
called for me and we crossed the ferry to Greenbush in a 
boat worked by 8 horses, not by steam, the stage went over 
and i had no occasion to get out. One mile ascent. The 


Barracks in a pretty situation, four (eight) pairs of long 
houses besides detached buildings. From the hill a beauti- 
ful prospect of Albany and the vicinity. Road excellent, 
capital horses and civil driver. Schodeck y'/i miles from the 
ferry, a long straggling place, road hilly but good. Entered 
Nassau township (4} 2 miles further) the road to Pittsfield, 
Northampton, etc., branching off to the left. Reached the 
township of Chatham at 1 p. m. 15 miles [ ? minutes] to dine. 
Declined it and proceeded. The country pleasing though 
hilly, road still excellent, well cultivated though soil not rich. 
My only fellow passenger a lady ( elderly ) from Providence, 
stage moved rapidly, at mile stone 2& from Albany passed 
the boundary of X. York and entered the state of Massachu- 
setts at 3 p. m., soon after the Hoosatonac River which 
unites with the Naugatuck at Derby. At 7 reached Major 
Ensign's Inn at Sheffield, 45 miles from Albany and got 
supper. ( Omitted Stockbridge, 13 miles from Sheffield. ) 

Oct. 7. Off at daybreak, took a hasty breakfast at Nor- 
folk, having passed Canaan 7 miles and here entered the 
state of Connecticut, passed Winsted Iron Works, Farming- 
ton, etc., to Hartford, 28 miles. Dreadful weather, quite a 
hurricane with violent showers of rain. Got into Ripley's 
Inn to which Major Stevens (a fellow passenger from Nor- 
folk) recommended me. I made every inquiry as to an im- 
mediate conveyance to New London. One man offered to 
take me the 42 miles for the moderate sum of 15 dollars, so I 
relinquished the thought and at 4 sat down to a tolerable 
dinner, for so I esteemed tough fresh killed chickens after 
my late course of beef steaks. Rain & wind continued most 
of the evening and I returned [ ? retired] to bed early. 

Wednesdav, Oct. 8. Breakfasted at y 2 past 7 with the 
house parte and had the luck again to get a part of a grilled 
fowl otherwise I must have put up with my old fare, beef. 
As the stage for N. London does not start till 9, it being a 
delightful morning 1 strolled round the town accompanied 
by a gentlemanly man belonging to Xew York whose name 
I understood to be Bootam, of French extraction, 1 presume. 
We had traveled a short distance together, lie was re- 
Uirning from Schenectady College in which he had placed a 

OF THE YEAR 1S17. 131 

son. Mr. JJ. gained me admittance into the asylum for the 
deaf and dumb, and I was highly gratified, great credit is 
due to Mr. Gallaudet for the wonderful progress of his 
pupils, an excellent institution, but as yet ill supported as no 
one can be placed there at a less expense than 200 dollars 
per annum, only 29 pupils as few can afford this allowance. 
A good episcopal. 2 congregational, 1 methodist, and 1 bap- 
tist places of worship, many good houses, a tine arched 
bridge over the Connecticut River, and below which lav 8 or 
10 moderate sized vessels, chiefly sloops and schooners ; 
trade dull and very little stir or bustle in the town, a good 
market house but apparently ill supported, nothing but very 
poor looking beef could we see there. 

Entered the stage at 9. o'clock. I arrived in lucky time 
as it only runs at present twice a week to Xew London, 
viz — Wednesdays & Saturdays. A Mr. Heathcot of Boston, 
an Englishman and a negress for Colchester, my com- 
panions. Mr. H. a pleasant well informed man. Passed 
through E. Hartford, 4 miles. Glasonbury, etc., to Colchester 
which is a pretty, small town, 22 miles from Hartford. 
Dined heartily at 2 o'clock on partridges and bacon and 
about 3 proceeded on our route. Road hitherto very bad, 
sandy and hilly, one very long and steep ascent 8 miles from 
Hartford, from the summit of which you have an excellent 
prospect including a faint view of the town. On this side 
Colchester, road somewhat better, not so hilly, country by 
no means fertile, very rocky and sterile in many places ; 
several halts, having from Colchester only one pair of 
horses in our small stage, which simply carried Mr. H. and 
myself. He drank rather freely of Brandy and water, as it 
grew colder he increased his quantity so that when we 
reached Montville (12 miles from Colchester & 7 from X. 
London ) he was tolerably well on. A woman and child 
from Xew London joined us here to return home. Mr. H. 
rather troublesome and I was obliged to repress his assidu- 
ities. I iappy to see the heights of New London between 7 & 
8, had the stage driven round past Mr. Cole's to Mr. 
Stewart's gate. I was much gratified to find all as well as I 
could wish; . . . Mr. Stewart not home, expected to- 


ward the end of the month. Mr. Stewart arrived in the 
Tiger from Liverpool at 10 p. m. the 14th of October, all 
well, and I again departed on my Washington excursion, in 
the steamboat on Monday morning, the 20th of Oct. 1817. 

Amount of Expence on My Journey, Sect. 10, 1817. 

Sept. 10. Fare per Steamboat from X. London to N. York 

$8, petty charges, portage etc. Si $ 9.00 

12. Board at Gibson's Hotel and Servants 3.50 

Theater $1, West's Si ; 2 nit. Phials $2 4.00 

Soda Water etc. 25c. 3 d<>x. Porter (Mrs. S) $9 . . 9.25 

13. Fare to Albany $8, hair cutting ( X. Y. ) 25c 8.25 

" Schenectady 16 miles $1.50, expences there. 

$ 1 .50 3 . CO 

14. Fare (stage) to Utica (84 miles) $6, 15th — dinner 
Canojohara. 50c 6 . 50 

16. Halt, medicine 50c .50 

17. Fare (stage) to Skeneatles S4.75, bill Utica $2.75 7.50 
Breakfast (Yemen) 50c; dinner (Onondaga Hol- 
low ) 50c 1 . 00 

18. Bill at Skeneatlas (a halt) $2, fare to Canandaigna 

$3-50 •• 5-50 

Tinct. Cinnamon & Thebaic 25c .25 

" 19. Canandaigna. breakfast at Cayuga .50 

20. Bill here $1.50, paid share of dinner at Rowe's Inn 

( W. Blocmfield ) 2.50 

Sh?re of night's bill at Bovven's, Caledonia 2.00 

21. Breakfast (Batavia) $1, tea, etc, Major Miller's 

Inn (11 mile creek ) $t 2.00 

" 22. ( Buffalo) share of night's bill at Pomeroy's 2.00 

My ferryage across to Canada 25c, peaches, etc. 25c .50 
Fare in stage from Forsyth's at the Falls Inn to 

Xewark 1 .25 

Medicine yesterday .2^ 

23. (Xewark, F. George or W. Xiagara) bill & Ser- 
vants 3 . 50 

25. Ferry fare to F. Xiagara & back .25 

Fare in stage back to Buffalo, ferry-house 2.2$ 

My conductor at the fall- 25c ( omitted ) 25 

28. Bill to Mr. Hardyson ( Ferry House) 3.C0 

30. " Rogers (2)\d trip t'> F. George) & Servants .. 2.50 
Forsyth, breakfast etc 75c, trunk to F. Frie 

(omitted) 25c 1.00 

Mrs. Maxwell's Bill F. Frie, including wagon .... 2.50 

Horse here to F. George $4, ferry back 25c 4.25 

Carriage, trunk from Ferry to Landon*s 50c, bill 

Lnds. 75c 1 .25 

Oct. f. Fare (LandonY) half way to Batavia Si. 50. ser- 
vant s 25c 1 . 75 

Returning, breakfast, Hutchinson's, Williamsville .50 

OF THE YEAR 1S17. 133 

Oct. 2. Balance tare $1.50 Mr. Keyes bill (Batavia) $1.00.$ 2.50 

bare to Canandaigna $350, Mr. Mills bill Si. 50 ... 5.00 

Breakfast at Mr. Ripley's, Le Roy village .50 

3. Fare to Onondaga Hollow $4.50, breakfast 
Geneva 50c 5 . co 

4. Fare to Utica $4.25, breakfast Chittenango 50c .... 4-75 
Dinner Skeneatles (omitted) 50c, bill Mr. Bamman 
(Utica) $1 1.50 

5. Fare to Albany $7, breakfast Herkimer 50c 7.50 

Dinner (Conyne's Inn) 2 miles E. Johnstown 50c .50 

6. Mr. Baird's Bill (Albany) $1, fare to Hartford $6.50 7.50 
Major Ensign's bill for the night (Sheffield) 75c. . .js 

7. Breakfast ( Norfolk ) 50c ..50 

8. Bill Ripley's Hartford $1.50, fare to N. London 

$3-50 5-00 

Dinner etc. Colchester 75c, grog. etc. in the even- 
ing 50c 1 . 25 

One month's (4 weeks traveling expences) $134.50 


fbom the best existing likeness, an unfinished oil painting in the possessiof 
of the Buffalo Historical Society. , 




On that panel of the square of granite covering the 
grave of Samuel Wilkeson, which faces the harbor of Buf- 
falo, is chiselled the epitaph "urtjem condidit/' 

He built the city of Buffalo by building its harbor. 

The Erie Canal was under construction — a water channel 
to connect Lake Erie with the Atlantic ocean and make Xew; 
York the market of the lake basin and the upper Mississippi 
valley. The point at which, the canal should receive the 
waters of the lakes was of triple consequence — to commerce, 
to rival terminal interests and to State politics. The govern- 

* In 1S42 and 184^, Judge Samuel Wilkeson wrote for the American 
Pioneer of Cincinnati, a series of articles, giving his recollections of pioneer 
experiences in Western Pennsylvania. New York, and Ohio; of the Whiskey 
Insurrection, of the events and motives of which movement he had intimate 
personal knowledge; of early lake and river traffic; and especially of the 
building of Buffalo harbor, of which work he was the chief promoter. The 
American Pioneer, never widely circulated, was a short-lived periodical, and 
is now rarely to be found. Judge Wilkeson was so conspicuous a figure in 
the early history of Buffalo, his work was so potential for the city's com- 
mercial development, that it is a duty to record as fully as possible what he 
did for the public welfare. No better record of that work can be found ihan 
in his own graphic narrative, Written 60 years ago. Many biographical sketches 
and tributes to his memory have been printed, one of the most worthy being 
that by the Rev. Dr. John C. Lord, printed in Vol. IV. of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society Publications. No published biography of him, however, so well 
presents the real man, as the sketch prepared by his son, the late Samuel 
Wilkeson, Jr., and presented by him to the Buffalo Historical Society in 1885. 
That sketch, printed herewith, forms the most fitting introduction to the his- 
torical writings of his father, "The Harbor- Maker of Buffalo." 


merit of the State wanted the best connection ; the people of 
Black Rock wanted the canal to enter the Niagara River 
somewhat below the head of that deep, but rapid, revolving 
current, Buffalo claimed that the only possibility of a large 
and good harbor at the foot of the lakes was in Buffalo 
Creek. Outside of these contestants, two active and one pas- 
sive, reposed the Holland Land Company, indifferent 
through territorial exclusion from the water front by the 
State's reservation of the mile-wide strip of land on the 
Niagara River, and on the lake shore to Genesee Street. 
Yet those foreign speculators in American land nursed in 
imagination a New Amsterdam where Black Rock now is, 
and would probably have built it there had they owned the 
ground. As it was. they kept their hands away from every 
effort to make Buffalo the terminus of the canal, arguing 
that wherever the canal terminated, at Black Rock or Buf- 
falo, one of their town plats behind either terminus would 
surely enrich them. The building of the harbor saved the 
Holland Land Company's Buffalo town plat for its proprie- 
tors and gave speedy sale to all their lands in the county of 
Erie. The Company never gave a dollar to the perilous 

The writer is one of the few men living who looked on 
the work of making this inland seaport. As if it were only 
yesterday he can remember being perched on his father's 
shoulders as he waded across the mouth of Buffalo Creek 
in superintendence of the crib-laying, and being startled by 
the bugle-tone power of the magnetic voice which gave com- 
mands to his men as he walked. It was a ford only waist- 
deep to the tall man. Ships holding one hundred thousand 
bushels of grain move under great sail* where he carelessly 

* The read:r will bear in mind, of this ami some other statements in this 
paper, that they were made in 1885. Even then, sails had practically disap- 
peared from lake vessels, save for steadying purposes on steam-propelled craft, 
and to assist the steersman on vessels in a tow. The lake marine has lost much 
of its picturesqueness: steamers and their tows are now mere aquatic freight 
trains; and such lias been the increase in size and carrying capacity of modern 
lake vessels that even the hundred thousand bushels that Mr. \\ ilkeson cited 
for the maximum of achievement, has now become too commonplace to excite 
comment. The evolution of the freight carriers of the lakes is still in progress; 
but to emphasize the contrast which Air. Wilkeson sought to make, it may be re- 


carried a child. And, as it were yesterday's sight, the writer 
recalls the large timber trees which fringed the lake north 
and south of the creek, and the great elms, sycamores, black- 
walnuts, basswoods and oaks, which threw shadows over the 
silent water-way, and east of Main Street became a forest 
on both its banks — a forest and swamp dense with trees and 
all vegetable growth, extending from the bend of Xiagara 
River, around by what is now the Terrace and Exchange 
Street, then the algc of a bluff which was once the wall of 
the lake ; a swamp through which, south of the Mansion 
House, Main Street had been cut and corduroyed with im- 
mense logs, painful to travel ; a swamp which, west of the 
Terrace, and north and south of Court Street, was terrible 
to the writer, then a little child, as a black fastness alive with 
serpents, turtles and frogs, to disappear in which the family's 
cow was wickedly prone, and where oft she hid herself to 
enjoy the small tragedy of the child's tearful wandering in 
search of her on the edge of the cat-tail-fringed ooze which 
he dared not enter. 

The man who turned the severe work on the harbor into 
a joyous battle by wading the creek and laboring among his 
men in the water up to his waist, doubling their effectiveness 
with electric words and a judgment unerring and quick as 
lightning — that man changed the swamps into a populous 
and beautiful city. He built the harbor of Buffalo — "urbem 
coxdidit." The harbor made the Buffalo Creek the western 
terminus of the Erie Canal. That made Buffalo the outlet 
of commerce of the vast region commercially dependent on 
the great lakes. 

Samuel Wilkeson was of Scotch Covenanter stock and 
of Scotch-Irish descent. Men of the name died fighting for 

corded here that the steamer J. W. ( iates has entered Buffalo harbor with a 
cargo of .258,152 bushels of wheat (in 1900); the S. J. Murphy has brought in 
at one time 269.000 bushels of corn; at another time. 302,200 bushels of barley; 
and the II. S. I [olden has steamed in over that ford, once '"only waist-deep 10 
the tall man," laden with 302.000 bushels of oats. A type of the steel steamer 
of the lakes, A. I). ion_>, is the J. J. Hill, 47^ feet long, 52 feet beam. 30 feet 
depth, and a gross tonnage of 6025. Harbor evolution has struggled to keep 
pace with steamer evolution. Changes come so fast and along lines often so 
utterly unforessen, that it is as idle as it is inviting to speculate on the future 
of the lake carrying trade. 


religious freedom at Bothwell Bridge in 1679. The final 

defeat of the Covenanters exiled the family to the north of 
Ireland. They took with them their love of battle and de- 
votion to Protestant liberty. Six Wilkesons were killed in 
the siege of Derry. The soldier survivors received their 
distributive portions of land in the Pale. Within less than 
a century the increase of the family exceeded the supporting- 
power of its land. Emigration was the relief. John Wilke- 
son and his wife, Mary Robinson, came to America in 1760 
and settled in Delaware. The shadow of the war of the 
Revolution was creeping- over the land, and this couple wel- 
comed the coming struggle with the British monarchy. . The 
war broke out. John Wilkeson hastened into the army with 
a lieutenant's commission and fought till peace was declared. 
What was left of his regiment was camped at Carlisle, Pa., 
where the subject of this sketch, literally a military product, 
was born in 1781. When the army was disbanded, John 
Wilkeson went with his family to Washington County, in 
Western Pennsylvania, and, under a soldier's warrant, 
chopped a farm out of the wilderness. His son in his very 
childhood was held face to face with the battle of life on the 
American timbered frontier, and had his character formed 
' and tempered in that severest but manliest of schools. His 
education commenced in the nearest log school-house and 
ended in just two weeks. Labor on his father's farm in the 
wilderness until he was 21 years old must have been per- 
formed in a heavy conflict with his sense of power, his am- 
bitious aspirations and his marvelous imagination. 

Soon after his father's death he married and went to 
Southeastern Ohio, and opened another farm for himself 
in another wilderness. As he was logging and burning one 
nisfht at eleven o'clock, a sense of the slowness and distance 
of reward for his terrible toil stopped his work. Before he 
resumed it. he had planned a change of employment, and 
was a builder of keel-boats, and a merchant and a vrans- 
porter, who loaded with glass, nails, bar iron and other com- 
modities in Pittsburg, and carried them by the Allegheny 
and Connewango Rivers, Chautauqua Lake. Lake Erie and 
the Niagara River to Black Rock and Buffalo, and loaded 


back with ( hiondaga salt brought up Lake Ontario. With 
him to determine was to do. Soon he was master of vessels. 
The first of them he built with his own hands from timber 
trees growing on the river bank, with no other tools than an 
ax, a wedge, a saw, an auger and a hammer. Xot an iron 
spike nor a nail was used in their construction. He varied 
his traffic by the inland route with voyages to points up 
Lake Erie. The beginning of the superb commerce of the 
3,000 ton vessels that now enter the harbor of Buffalo was 
in these open boats, and salt was their principal freight. 
This lake trade, however, was soon destroyed by war, the 
second that the British waged against this country — that 
of 1812. 

The American army under General Harrison lay at 
Maumee, delayed in its advance to invade Canada by the 
failure of a contractor to provide transportation by boats. 
In this emergency Wilkeson was sent for and appealed to by 
the commander-in-chief, to give his army transportation. 
Lie consented. Quickly gathering a force of axemen and 
carpenters, he hastened to the Grand River in Northern 
Ohio and attacked the timber growing on, its banks, sawed, 
hewed, rived, framed and planked, and in a wonderfully 
short time, completed the transports and delivered them at 
Maumee within the conditions of his contract as to time. 
His family was at Portland, in Chautauqua Count}'. The 
British army was in march across the Xiagara River from 
the Canadian side. Armed with a rifle he hurried to Buffalo 
with his regiment to get into the expected right to check or 
defeat the foe. The battle was fought north of Black Rock 
and near the Conjockada [Scajaquada] Creek. Our militia 
was overmatched by Wellington's veterans in numbers as 
well as effectiveness. We were beaten. Buffalo was cap- 
tured and burned. Wilkeson walked "home to Chautauqua 
to his family, with the comforting knowledge that the rifle 
lie carried on his shoulder had been deadly to not a few of 
the enemy. 

While the war was yet in progress, in the spring of 18 14, 
he loaded a lake boat at Portland with the frames and cover- 
ing of a store and dwelling house, and, embarking his 


family, sailed to Buffalo to settle there permanently and dp 
business as a merchant. The store was erected on the corner 
of Main and Xiagara streets and the dwelling on the north" 
side of Main, south of Genesee. 

Peace was proclaimed on the 14th of December, 1814. 
Our army passed the winter in cantonment, at what was 
popularly called "Sandy Town," below the blurt at the 
Front, and between a range of high sand dunes which then 
bordered the lake and the present line of the Erie Canal. In 
the spring of 18 15, Buffalo as the nearest town naturally at- 
tracted and held a large number of the most lawless of the 
soldiers. As terrible in peace as in war, they instantly be- 
came a disturbing and dangerous social element, against 
which the citizens sought a summary remedy. They found 
it in persuading Samuel Wilkeson to accept the then im- 
portant judicial office of Justice of the Peace, to which they 
unanimously elected him. His discharge of the duties of a 
criminal magistrate is one of Buffalo's living traditions. He 
was a terror to evil-doers. Naturally a lawyer, impetuous, 
utterly fearless, hating wrong and loving right, looking in 
an instant through men as through glass, he smote the ras- 
cals and ruffians brought before him with terrible quickness 
and the utmost reach of the law. The dangerous he threw 
into jail ; the turbulent and petit-larcenous he frightened 
out of town with a voice and look which few men could en- 
dure ; and he had a way, too, that was perhaps extra- 
judicial, but was certainly effective, of discouraging young 
adventurers in the law from espousing the cause of scoun- 
drels. He swept Buffalo clean of the lees of the war, and 
to the end of his term of office gave his court the reputation 
of a tribunal in which right was sure to prevail, wrong was 
sure to be punished, and in which judgment was swift and 
final. Public opinion never reversed his judgments. 

In 1 8 19 he was a leading advocate of the construction of 
the Erie Canal. Twas December. The failure of the "As- 
sociation" of citizens to comply with the law which author- 

* The west side. The Rev. John C. Lord's sketch of him says the house 
"was erected on Main Street, on the Kremlin triangle, near Niagara Street." — 
See Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. IV., p. 76. 


ized the State to loan to the Village of Buffalo $12,000 with 

winch to build a harbor, on the security of a bond in double 
the amount, threatened the enterprise with rum by the loss 
of the loan through a lapse of the law. The times following 
the war were exceedingly hard: Money was scarce. Every 
member of the Harbor Association became discouraged, and, 
with the exception of Charles Townsend and Oliver 
Forward, refused to execute the required security. Twas 
Buffalo's crisis. Judge Wilkeson stepped to the front and, 
with Townsend and Forward, agreed to give the State an 
approved bond in the penal sum of 825,000. The harbor 
loan was saved. In due time a superintendent who had some 
reputation as a harbor builder was employed, and the work 
was begun. Mr. Townsend, who was charged with the 
finances of the enterprise, soon made up his mind that under 
this superintendent's management the money would not pro- 
vide a harbor. The obligors on the bond had a conference. 
The putative harbor-builder was dismissed. Xeither Town- 
send nor Forward was adapted by previous experience or 
habit of life to such work. Wilkeson had never seen an 
artificial harbor and had a valuable mercantile business 
which required his personal attention. But his two asso- 
ciates on the large bond were determined that he, and no one 
else, should build that harbor, and they finally prevailed on 
him to abandon his business and take charge of the con- 
struction. The next morning at daylight he was on the 
ground. The great structure was completed in 221 working 

The Canal Commissioners met in Buffalo in the summer 
of 1822 to decide finally where the Erie Canal should termin- 
ate. 'Idle meeting was held in a small room in Benjamin 
Rathbun's Eagle tavern on Main Street, near Court. Samuel 
Wilkeson presented the claim of Buffalo and argued it. 
using a map which he- had made of the lower part of the lake, 
the creek and Niagara River, and drawing with prodigious 
effect on his thorough knowledge of the action of the wind.-, 
currents and waves on all the water connected with both the 
proposed termini. General Peter !'>. Porter pleaded for 
Black Rock. Canal Commissioner De Witt Clinton ju- 


dicially summed up the case, and in the name and authority 

of the State, decided it in i*avor of Buffalo. 

The canal was completed from the Hudson River to 
Lake Erie on the 26th of ( )ctober, 1825. It had been previ- 
ously arranged that the great event should he property cele- 
brated. A beautiful and swift packet-boat, built of Lake 
Erie red cedar and named "Seneca Chief," lav moored at 
the crossing of Commercial Street, ready to make the first 
passage through the entire length of the canal to tide-water. 
A new cask, filled with water from Lake Erie, was in 'her 
store room to be used in a marriage ceremony to take place 
in the harbor of Xew York, by which the inland lakes and 
the sea should be united forever. ( )n the morning of that 
day, October 26th, the citizens of Buffalo formed in pro- 
cession and escorted the Canal Commissioners, De Witt 
Clinton and Myron Holley, with other public men to the 
"first boat" which had been expressly built for the round 
trip. A committee of Buffalo's foremost citizens, of which 
Samuel Wilkeson was chairman, embarked with Clinton on 
the "Seneca Chief" and in the bay of Xew York mingled the 
fresh water of the inland seas with that of the Atlantic. On 
the return of the "Seneca Chief" to Buffalo, she brought a 
cask of sea water, which with suitable ceremonies was 
mingled with the waters of Erie. 

Buffalo was then yet on the border, and the necessity 
existed for a bold and thorough man on the bench of the 
Common Pleas Court of Erie County, which, after the dis- 
bandment oi the army, had demanded of Wilkeson to serve 
as Justice of the Peace. He was appointed Eirst Judge of 
the Erie Common Pleas in Eebruary, [821. Pie had prob- 
ably never held in his hand an elementary work on law. In 
not any technical sense was he a lawyer, but in every sense 
he was a judge. Plis instantaneous insight, his comprehen- 
sive common sense, dignity, intolerant honesty and wise im- 
perativeness carried him with complete credit through a 
three years' term. Then, in 1X24. he was elected to the State 
Senate and served in that body and in the Court for the 
Correction i)i Errors for six years. In 1836 he was elected 
Mavor of Buffalo. 


During all this representative service, these labors for 
the community of which he was a part, he had prosecuted 
various kinds of husiness with sagacity and energy. He 
was a merchant; a forwarder on the lakes; he built a ac- 
tion of the Erie Canal : was a warehouse man and the owner 
of vessels; built the first iron foundry erected in Buffalo; 
started in the town its now immense lousiness of manufactur- 
ing steam engines, stoves and hollow-ware. This was an 
outcome of a previous purchase of a charcoal blast-furnace, 
in Lake County, Ohio, in the management of which he es- 
tablished his sons, and the erection and operation afterwards 
of a furnace in Mahoning- County, in the same State, the 
first in this country to "blow in" on raw bituminous coal and 
smelt iron with that fuel uncoked. 

His interest in politics and his conscientiousness and hu- 
manity carried him earnestly into the discussions of the 
problems of American slavery. The tidal wave of abolition 
was forming. He opposed it. He felt that if the doctrine 
of unconditional and immediate emancipation of the slaves 
should obtain, the union of the States would lie broken, the 
negroes in the South would be exterminated by the whites, 
and an armed struggle for the control of the Federal Gov- 
ernment would ensue between the Xorth and South. To 
save the Union and to save the South, he favored a system 
of gradual and compensated emancipation. Fearing that a 
system of slavery could not and would not tolerate the pres- 
ence of free negroes, he advocated the colonization of the 
blacks on the west coast of Africa. The control of the 
American Colonization Society was surrendered to him. He 
removed to Washington, the headquarters of the Society. 
and for two years edite/1 its organ, the African Repository. 
governed the Colony of Liberia, instituted commerce with it 
from the ports of Baltimore and Philadelphia, gathered col- 
onists wherever he could in the South and shipped them to 
the new Republic. But the flood that was to uproot human 
bondage in America and to overwhelm the slave oligarchy in 
a disastrous civil war. was not to be averted. Sentiment in 
the slave states, as well as in the free, finally rejected coloni- 
zation as a remedv and it was abandoned. 


Judge Wilkeson was thrice married. His first wife, the 
mother of all his children, was Jane ( )ram, daughter of 
James Oram, a Scotch-Irish emigrant who came to this 
country with John Wilkeson, and with him went into the 
Revolutionary army and fought through the" war as a cap- 
tain. Of their six children, Elizabeth, John, Eli, William, 
Louise and Samuel, the eldest and youngest, John and 
Samuel, are now living.* His second wife was Sarah St. 
John, of Buffalo, a woman of uncommon intellect and char- 
acter. His third was Mary Peters, of Xew Haven, Conn., 
eminent as an educator of girls. A simple malady, con- 
tracted at the first Chicago land sale, mistreated by many 
physicians, was at last transferred and confirmed into an in- 
curable disease of one of the nobler organs. While he was 
yet young — for he was organized to live to be a century 
old — he died in July, 1S4S, in his 67th year, in a tavern in 
the Tennessee mountains, through which he was journey- 
ing to visit his youngest daughter. 

This man was a king among men. Twas native to him 
to seize situations that required treatment and give orders. 
Men obeyed him without loss of self-respect. His right to 
command was conceded. He moved masses of men and did 
not excite jealousy. His knowledge of what was best to do 
was intuitive. He never had to come to a conclusion of mind 
by logical steps or by waiting. It is doubtful if he ever lost 
an opportunity. His knowledge was prodigious. His im- 
agination was extraordinarily rich. His humor was fine. 
Through all his life men considered it a privilege to hear 
him talk. The graphic art with words was his. The great 
magnetic force of the man Mashed over the wires of his talk, 
filling, kindling and lifting Iris listeners. Had he esteemed 
himself much and been i^nd of applause, he would have been 
an irresistible orator. But an audience made him bashful. 
He was incorruptibly honest. His scorn of what was dis- 
honorable or mean was grand. He had a dignity that all 
men respected and felt was becoming. His courage was 
chivalric and complete. And way down in the lion heart of 

* Samuel Wilkeson, Jr.. the author of this sketch of his father, died Dec. 
18S9; his eldest brother, John, died April 4, 1S94. 


the man was a soft nest in which his children wore held and 
his friends found warmth and sympathy. When a northwest 
gale swept down the lake and shrieked and moaned through 
the house, his crooning of one of Burns' ballads always 
shook his voice and made the tears tremble on his lids. 

The cannonade against Fort Sumter which opened the 
slaveholders' rebellion, was not heard by this veteran as he 
lay in his grave in Forest Lawn. Eight of his grandsons 
heard it and went into the Union Army, three of them under 
age, two seventeen years old, the other sixteen. Xot one of 
the eight served on a general's staff, was in the department 
of transportation or supplies, or ever placed on detail duty. 
Each and all were in the line and at the front. John Wilkes 
Wilkeson, oldest son of Tohn, was killed in the sudden and 
bloody battle of the Seven Pines, in command of Com- 
pany K, of the ioo X. Y. Infantry. He was shot in the 
front, lie was pure as he was brave, and true, steadfast and 
gentle. Bayard Wilkeson, the oldest son of Samuel, was 
killed in the first day's fighting at Gettysburg, commanding 
Battery G, of the 4th U. S. Artillery, aged only 19 years, 
1 month and 15 days. An infant in the language of the law, 
he was so thorough a soldier and so good a commander that 
his Batter}' had the post of honor in the Eleventh Corps, the 
right of the line of march. 






Removal to Western Pennsylvania. 

The present happy population of our country, enjoying 
not only peace, but all the necessaries and conveniences of 
life, can form no just conception of the poverty and priva- 
tions endured by the early settlers of the West. 

The Revolutionary War had withdrawn much of the 
labor of the country from agriculture and manufactures. 
There was no commerce, no money. The country at large 
could not furnish even necessary clothing. Hard as was the 
fate of the soldier while starving, freezing, and fighting for 
independence, still the prospective was cheering to him ; he 
never doubted that his service would be rewarded, and be 
remembered with gratitude by his country. But when dis- 
charged, he received his pay in Continental money, worth 
but a few cents on the dollar, and, returning poor to his 
family, found them as destitute as himself. The pride and 
parade of the camp which had excited and sustained him, 
were now gone — there was none to relieve or assist him. 
Some sunk under their discouragements. Brave men, who 
never shrank from danger in their country's defence, and 
who cheerfully endured all the hardships incident to the 


soldier's life, had not the courage to contend with poverty, 
nor the resolution to exchange the excitements of war for 
that diligent pursuit of personal labor which was requisite 

for the support of their families. Many, however, resolved 
on crossing the mountains, and becoming farmers in the 
West. The difficulties to be encountered in effecting this 
resolution, were many and great. The journey was full of 
peril, especially to women and children, poorly provided 
with even the most common necessaries. 

It may interest some of my readers, who have never felt 
what privation or suffering is, to know by what expedients 
the pioneers of the West were enabled to remove their fam- 
ilies across the mountains. I have often, when a boy, list- 
ened to the recital made by the mothers who were com- 
panions in these sufferings, and who at every meeting in 
after life would recur to them with tears. 

My father's family was one of 20 that emigrated from 
Carlisle, and the neighboring country, to Western Pennsyl- 
vania, in the spring of 1784. Our arrangements for the 
journey would, with little variation, be descriptive of those 
of the whole caravan. Our family consisted of my father, 
mother, and three children ( the eldest one five, the youngest 
less than one year old ), and a bound boy of 14. The road 
to be traveled in crossing the mountains, was scarcely, if at 
all, practicable for wagons. Pack horses were the only 
means of transportation then, and for years after. We were 
provided with three horses, on one of which my mother rode, 
carrying her infant, with all the table furniture and cooking 
utensils. On another were packed the stores of provisions. 
the plough irons, and other agricultural tools. The third 
horse was rigged out with a pack-saddle, and two large 
creels, made of hickory withes in the fashion of a crate, one 
over each. side, in which were stowed the beds and bedding, 
and the wearing apparel of the family. In the center of 
these creels there was an aperture prepared for myself and 
'sister, and the top was well secured by lacing, to keep us in 
our places, so that only our heads appeared above. Each 
family was supplied with one or more cows, an indispensable 
provision for the journey. Their milk furnished the morn- 


ing and evening meal for the children, and the surplus was 
carried in canteens for use during the day. 

Thus equipped, the company set out on their journey. 
Many of the men being unacquainted with the management 
of horses, or the business of packing, little progress was 
made the first day or two. When the caravan reached the 
mountains, the road was found to be hardly passable for 
loaded horses. In many places the path lay along the edge 
of a precipice, where, if the horse had stumbled, or lost his 
balance, he would have been precipitated several hundred 
feet below. The path was crossed by many streams raised 
by the melting snow and spring rains, and running with 
rapid current in deep ravines. Most of these had to be 
forded, as there were no bridges, and but few ferries. For 
many successive days, hairbreadth escapes were continually 
occurring ; sometimes horses falling, at others carried away 
by the current, and the women and children with difficulty 
saved from drowning. Sometimes in ascending steep ac- 
clivities, the lashing of the creels would give way, both creels 
and children tumble to the ground, and roll down the steep, 
until arrested by some traveler of the company. In crossing 
streams, or passing places of more than ordinary difficulty 
in the road, mothers were often separated from some of their 
children for many hours. 

The journey was made in April when the nights were 
cold. The men who had been inured to the hardships of 
war, could with cheerfulness endure the fatigues of the jour- 
ney. It was the mothers who suffered ; they could not, after 
the toils of the day, enjoy the rest they so much needed at 
night. The wants of their suffering children must be at- 
tended to. After preparing their simple meal, they lay down 
with scanty covering in a miserable cabin, or as it sometimes 
happened, in the open air, and often unrefreshed, were 
obliged to rise earl}' to encounter the fatigues and dangers of 
another day. 

As the company approached the Monongahela, they be- 
gan to separate. Some settled down near to friends and ac- 
quaintances who had preceded them. About half the corn- 
pan}- crossed the Monongahela, and settled on Chartier's 


Creek, a few miles south of Pittsburgh, in a hilly country, 
well watered and heavily timbered. Settlers' rights to land 
were obtained on easy terms. My father exchanged one of 
his horses for a tract (bounded by certain brooks and 
marked trees ) which was found on being surveyed several 
years after, to contain about 200 acres. The new-comers 
aided each other in building cabins, which were made of 
round logs with a slight covering of clapboards. The build- 
ing of chimneys and laying of doors, were postponed to a 
future day. As soon as the families were all under -shelter, 
the timber was girdled and the necessary clearing made for 
planting corn, potatoes, and a small patch of riax. Some of 
the party were dispatched for seed. Corn was obtained at 
Pittsburgh, but potatoes could not be procured short of 
Ligonier valley, distant three days' journey. The season 
was favorable for clearing, and by unremitted labor, often 
continued through a part of the night, the women laboring 
with their husbands in burning brush and logs, their plant- 
ing was seasonably secured. 

But while families and neighbors were cheering each 
other on with the prospect of an abundant crop, one of the 
settlements was attacked by the Indians and all of them were 
thrown into the greatest alarm. This was a calamity which 
had not been anticipated. It had been confidently believed 
that peace with Great Britain would secure peace with her 
Indian allies. The very name of Indian chilled the blood of 
the late emigrants, but there was no retreat. If they desired 
to recross the mountains they had not the provisions or 
means, and nothing but poverty and suffering to expect 
should they regain their former homes. They resolved to 
stay. The frontier settlements were kept in continual alarm. 
Murders were frequent, and many were taken prisoners. 
These were more generally children, who were taken to De- 
troit (which in violation of the treaty, continued to be occu- 
pied bv the British ), where they were sold. The Indians often 
'penetrated the settlement several miles, especially when the 
stealing of horses was a part of their object. Their depreda- 
tion effected, they retreated precipitately across the Ohio. 
The settlers for many miles from the Ohio, during six 


months of the year lived in daily tear of the Indians. Block- 
houses were provided in several neighborhoods for the pro- 
tection of the women and children, while the men carried on 
their farming' operations, some standing guard while the 
others labored. The frequent calls on the settlers to pursue 
marauding parties, or perform tours of militia duty, greatly 
interrupted their attention to their crops and families, and 
increased the anxieties and sufferings of the women. The 
Government could grant no relief. It had neither money 
nor credit. Indeed there was little but the name in the old 

The State of Pennsylvania was unable to keep up a mili- 
tary force for the defence of her frontier. She had gener- 
ously exhausted her resources in the struggle for national 
independence. Pier legislature however, passed an act 
granting a bounty of $ioo on Indian scalps. But an incident 
occurred which led to the repeal of this law before the ter- 
mination of the war. A part}" of Indian spies having entered 
a wigwam on French Creek, supposed to be untenanted, dis- 
covered while breakfasting, an Indian extended on a piece 
of bark overhead. They took him prisoner, but reflecting 
that there was no bounty on prisoners, they shot him under 
circumstances which brought the party into disgrace, and the 
scalp-bounty law into disrepute. 

The settlement was guarded, and in fact preserved from 
utter dispersion by a few brave men. Brave is a term not 
sufficiently expressive of the daring boldness of the Bradys, 
Sprouts, Foes, Lesnets. Weltzells, Crawfords, Williamsons, 
Pauls, Harrisons and Zaneses. who for years encountered 
unheard-of privations in the defence of the border settle- 
ments, and often carried the war successfully into the In- 
dian country. 


Difficulties of Early Skttlfrs. 


Beside their exposure to Indian depredations and mas- / 

sacres, the emigrants had other trials to endure, which at 


the present clay can not be appreciated. One of the most 
vexatious was, the running away of their horses. As soon 
as the fly season commenced the horses seemed resolved on 
leaving the country, and recrossing the mountains. The 
river was no harrier. They swam the Monongahela, and often 
proceeded 150 miles before they were taken up. During the 
husband's absence in pursuit of his horses his wife was 
necessarily left alone with her children in their unfinished 
cabin, surrounded by forests in which the howl of the wolf 
was heard from every hill. If want of provisions, or other 
causes made a visit to a neighbor's necessary, she must 
either take her children with her through the woods, or leave 
them unprotected under the most fearful apprehension that 
some mischief might befall them before her return. As 
bread and meat were scarce, milk was the principal depend- 
ence for the support of the family. One cow of each family 
was provided with a bell, which, if good, could be heard 
from half a mile to a mile. The woman left alone, on getting 
up in the morning, instead of lacing her corsets, and adjust- 
ing her curls, placed herself in the most favorable position 
for listening to her cow-bell, which she knew as well as she 
did the voice of her child, and considered it fortunate if she 
heard it even at a distance. By her nice and never failing 
discrimination of sounds, she could detect her own, even 
among a clamor of many other bells ; thus manifesting a 
nicety of ear which, with cultivation, might have been envied 
by the best musicians of the present day. If her children 
were small, she tied them in bed, to prevent their wandering, 
and to guard them from danger from fire and snakes, and, 
guided by the tinkling of the bell, made her way through the 
tall weeds, and across the ravines until she found the object 
of her search. Happy on her return to find her children un- 
harmed, and regardless of a thorough wetting from the dew, 
she hastened to prepare their breakfast of milk boiled with 
a little meal or hominy, or in the protracted absence of her 
husband, it was often reduced to milk alone. Occasionally 
venison and turkeys were obtained from hunters. Those set- 
tlers who were provided with rifles could, with little loss of 
time, supply their families with fresh meat, but with the new 


•settlers rifles were scarce. They were more accustomed to 
the musket. 

It may seem to some, that these people, whose hardships 
and poverty I have been describing", must have been de- 
graded, or the}- would have been better provided with the 
means of comfortable living. But they who would come to 
this conclusion, must be ignorant of the condition of our 
country at the close of the Revolution. The poverty of the 
disbanded soldier was not the consequence of idleness, dis- 
sipation or vice. The times were in fault, not the man. The 
money which he had received for his services in the army, 
proved to be nearly worthless. But, instead of brooding 
over this injustice, or seeking to redress his wrongs by 
means which would disturb the public peace, and demolish 
the temple of liberty which he had labored to erect, he nobly 
resolved to bear his misfortunes, and brave the dangers and 
hardships of emigration. 

A more intelligent, virtuous, and resolute class of men 
never settled any country, than the first settlers of Western 
Pennsylvania ; and the women who shared their sufferings 
and sacrifices were no less worthy. Very many of the set- 
tlers in what are now Washington and Allegheny counties 
were professors of religion of the strictest sect of Seceders. 
1 well remember hearing them, when a boy, rail at Watts's 
psalms, and other like heresies. At a very early period of 
the settlement, a distinguished minister of that denomina- 
tion, Mr. Henderson, was settled near Canonsburg. It was 
common for families to ride from 10 to 15 miles to meeting. 
The young people regularly walked live or six miles, and in 
summer carried their stockings and shoes, if they had any. 
in their hands, both going and returning. I believe that no 
churches, or houses of worship, were erected in the country 
until about 1700. Even in winter the meetings were held in 
the open air. A grove was selected, which partially sheltered 
the congregation from the weather. There a log pulpit was 
erected, and logs furnished the audience with seats. Among 
the men who attended public worship in winter, ten were 
obliged to substitute a blanket or coverlet for a great-coat. 
Avhere one enjoyed the luxury of that article. So great was 


the destitution of comfortable clothing, that when the first 
Court of Common Picas was held in Catfish, now Washing- 
ton, Pa., a highly respectable citizen, whose presence was re- 
quired as a magistrate, could not attend court without first 
borrowing a pair of leather breeches from an equally re- 
spectable neighbor, wbo was summoned on the grand jury. 
JThe latter lent them, and having no others, had to stay at 
home. This scarcity of clothing will not seem surprising 
when we consider the condition of the country at that time, 
and that most of these settlers brought but a scanty supply 
of clothing and bedding with them. Their stock could not 
be replenished until flax was grown, and made into cloth. 

Those who are reared in contact with the ledgers, the 
claims, the lawsuits, and the bankruptcies of this contentious 
age, can form but a faint idea of real pioneer hospitality, in 
which half of the scanty supply of a needy family was often 
cheerfully served up to relieve the necessity of the still more 
needy traveler or emigrant family. From feelings and acts 
of this kind, as from seeds, has sprung much of the systema- 
tized benevolence in which many of our enlightened citizens 
are engaged. 

The labor of all the settlers was greatly interrupted by 
the Indian war. Although the older settlers had some sheep 
yet their increase was slow, as the country abounded in 
wolves. It was therefore the work of time to secure a supply 
of wool. Deerskin was a substitute for cloth for men and 
boys, but not women and girls, although they were some- 
times compelled to resort to it. The women had to spin, and 
generally to weave all the cloth for their families, and when 
the wife was feeble, and had a large ' family, her utmost 
efforts could not enable her to provide them with anything 
like comfortable clothing. The wonder is, and I shall never 
cease to wonder, that they did not sink under their burthens. 
Their patient endurance of these accumulated hardships did 
not arise from a slavish servility, or insensibility to their 
rights and comforts. They justly appreciated their situation 
and nobly encountered the difficulties which could not be 
avoided. Possessing all the affections of the wife, the ten- 
derness of the mother and the sympathies of the woman,. 


their tears flowed freely for others' griefs, while they bore 
their, own with a fortitude which none but a woman could 
exercise. The entire education of her children devolved on r 
the mother, ami notwithstanding the difficulties to be en- 
countered, she did not allow them to grow up wholly without 
instruction ; but amidst all her numerous cares taught them 
to read, and instructed them in the principles of Christianity. 
To accomplish this, under the circumstances, was no easy 
task. The exciting influences which surrounded them, made 
the boys restless under restraint. Familiarized as they were 
to hardships from the cradle, and daily listening to stories of 
Indian massacres and depredations, and to the heroic ex- 
ploits of some neighboring pioneer, who had taken an In- 
dian scalp, or by some daring effort saved his own, ignorant 
of the sports and toys with which children in other circum- 
stances are wont to be amused, no wonder they desired to 
emulate the soldier, or engage in the scarcely less exciting 
adventures of the hunter. Yet even many of these boys were 
subdued by the faithfulness of the mother, who labored to 
bring them up in the fear of God. 

If the reader would reflect upon the difference between 
the difficulties of emigration at that early day, and those of 
the present, he must cast his eyes upon the rugged mountain 
steeps, then an almost unbroken and trackless wilderness, 
haunted by all sorts of wild and fierce beasts, and poisonous 
reptiles. He must then observe that civilization has since 
crossed them by the smooth waters of canals, or the gentle 
and even ascents of turnpikes and railroads, and strewed 
them thick with the comforts of life; he may then have a 
faint idea of the difference of the journey; and as to the 
difference of living after removal then and now, let him con- 
sider that then almost every article of convenience and sub- 
sistence must be brought with them, or rather, could neither 
be brought nor procured, and must necessarily be erased from 
the vocabulary of house-keeping ; let him think what has 
since been done by the power of steam in ascending almost 
to the very sources of the many ramifications of our various 
rivers, carrying all the necessaries and many of the luxuries 
of life, and depositing them at points easy of access to almost 


every new settler, and he will see that if settling is now dif- 
ficult, it was distressing When he further reflects upon 
the abundant and overflowing products of the West, com- 
pared with the absence of agriculture, arts, and manufac- 
tures, in those early days, and now that not only our largest 
rivers and gigantic lakes, but the ocean itself, by the power 
of increased science, are all converted into mere ferries, he 
will at once conclude that the emigrants to Liberia, Xew 
Holland, Oregon, or California can know nothing of priva- 
tion compared with the pioneers of the West. Our country 
now abounds in everything, and commerce extends over the 
world. If poverty or suffering exist, benevolence seeks it 
out, and relieves it, whether it be far off or near, whether in 
Greece or the islands of the sea. 

Early Commerce of the West. 

When our emigrants had struggled through the first 
summer, and the Indians had returned to their homes, the 
leading men set about supplying the settlement with salt and 
iron. These indispensable articles could only be obtained 
east of the mountains at some point accessible by wagons 
from a seaport. \\ 'inchester and Chambersburgh were salt 
depots. One man and one or more boys were selected from 
each neighborhood to take charge of the horses, which the 
settlers turned into the common concern. Each horse was 
provided with a packsaddle, a halter, a lash rope, to secure 
the load, and sufficient feed for 20 days, a part of which was 
left on the mountains for a return supply. The owner of 
each horse provided the means of purchasing his own salt. 
A substitute for cash was found in skins, fur and ginseng, 
all of which were in demand east of the mountains. With 
these articles and a supply of provisions for the journey, 
they set out after selecting a captain for the company. Not- 
withstanding the fatigues to be endured ( the entire return 


journey having to be performed on foot ) no office was ever 
sought with more importunity than was this by the boys who 
were old enough to be selected on this expedition. Xot only 
salt, but merchandise for the supply of the country west of 
the mountains, was principally carried on pack-horses, until 
after 1788. 

Packing continued to be an important business in Ken- 
tucky until 1795. The merchants of that state, for mutual 
convenience and protection, each provided with as many 
horses and drivers as his business required, repaired to the 
place of rendezvous, organized themselves, appointed of- 
ficers, and adopted regulations for their government. Every 
man was well armed, provisioned and furnished with camp 
equipage. The expedition was conducted on military prin- 
ciples. The time and place of stopping and starting were 
settled by the officers, and sentries always watched at night. 
The company of merchants carried to the East furs, peltries, 
ginseng, flax, linen, cloth, and specie (the latter obtained 
from Xew Orleans in exchange for tobacco, corn and whis- 
key). These articles found a ready sale in Philadelphia or 
Baltimore for dry goods, groceries, and hardware, including 
bar-iron and copper for stills. These caravans would trans- 
port many tons of goods, and when arranged by experienced 
hands, the goods could be delivered without injury in Ken-' 
tucky. It was necessary to balance the loads with great care 
in order to preserve the backs of the horses from injury. If 
well broke to packing, they could travel 25 miles a day. 
After the hnal peace with the Indians, this mode of trans- 
portation ceased; and the packers, who had been the lions 
of the day, were succeeded by still greater lions, the keel 
boatmen, who will be noticed hereafter. 

Emigration continued to Western Pennsylvania. Even 
the most exposed districts increased in population, and many 
of the emigrants of 1785 and ij$C) were what was then con- 
sidered rich. They introduced into the country large stocks 
of cattle, sheep and hogs, cleared large farms, built grist and 
saw-mills, and gave employment to many poor settlers. But 
notwithstanding the brightening prospects, the health v cli- 
mate and good soil, many of the settlers became restless and' 


dissatisfied with their location, which they believed inferior 
to Kentucky or some other country still farther off in the 
West. Numbers sold their improvements in the fall of 1786 
and prepared for descending- the Ohio with their families 
in the spring-. The various hardships which they had en- 
countered in providing a home for their families seemed to 
increase their enterprise and to inspire them with a desire 
of new adventures. Their anticipated home was as much 
exposed to the tomahawk as the one which they were about 
to leave; beside the hazard of descending the river 500 miles 
in a flat-boat was very great. The capture of the boats and 
destruction of whole families frequently occurred. But these 
dangers did not lessen the tide of emigration which set down 
the river from 1786 to '95. 

Few of the emigrants were well to live. They had sold 
their land in Pennsylvania for a small sum which the}' re- 
ceived in barter, generally in copper for stills, which was in 
great demand. A good still of 100 gallons would purchase 
200 acres of land within ten miles of Pittsburgh, and in 
Kentucky could be exchanged for a much larger tract. The 
erection of mills gave a great stimulus to the industry of the 
settlers of Western Pennsylvania. Xew Orleans furnished 
a good market for all the flour, bacon, and whiskey which 
the upper country could furnish, and those who in 1784, had 
suffered for want of provisions, in 1790 became exporters. 

The trade to Xew Orleans, like every enterprise of the 
day, was attended with great hardship and hazard. The 
right bank of the Ohio for hundreds of miles was alive with 
hostile Indians. The voyage was performed in flat-boats, 
and occupied from four to six months. Several neighbors 
united their means in building the boat, and in getting up the 
voyage ; some giving their labor, and others furnishing ma- 
terials. Each put on board his own produce at his own 
risk, and one of the owners always accompanied the boat as 
captain or supercargo. A boat of ordinary size required 
about six hands, each of whom generally received $60 a trip 
on his arrival at Xew Orleans. They returned either by sea 
to Baltimore, where they would be within 300 miles of home, 
or more generallv through the wilderness, a distance of about 


2,000 miles. A large number of these boatmen were brought 
together at New ( Orleans. Their journey home could not be 
made in small parties, as they earried large quantities of 
specie, and the road was infested by robbers. The outlaws 
and fugitives from justice from the states resorted to this 
road. Some precautionary arrangements were necessary. 
The boatmen who preferred returning through the wilder- 
ness, organized and selected their officers. These companies 
sometimes numbered several hundred, and a greater propor- 
tion of them were armed. They were provided with mules 
to carry the specie and provisions, and some spare ones for 
the sick. Those who were able purchased mules, or Indian 
ponies for their use, but few could afford to ride. As the 
journey was usually performed after the sickly season com- 
menced, and the tirst 600 or 700 miles was through a Mat, 
unhealthy country, with bad. water, the spare mules were 
early loaded with the sick. There was a general anxiety to 
hasten through this region of malaria. Officers would give 
up their horses to the sick, companions would carry them 
forward as long as their strength enabled them ; but al- 
though everything was done for their relief, which could be 
done without retarding the progress of their journey, many 
died on the way, or were left to the care of the Indian or 
hunter who had settled on the road. Many who survived an 
attack of fever, and reached the healthy country of Tennes- 
see, were long recovering sufficient strength to resume their 
journey home. 

One would suppose that men would be reluctant to en- 
gage in a service which exposed them to so great suffering 
and mortality, without extraordinary compensation, but such 
were the love of adventure, and recklessness of danger 
which characterized the young of the West, that there was 
no lack of hands to man the boats, although their number 
increased from 2^ to 50 per cent, yearly. The fact that some 
of these boatmen would return with 50 Spanish dollars, 
which was a large sum at that day, was no small incentive 
to others, who perhaps had never had a dollar oi their own. 


To St. Clair's Defeat. 

The New Orleans trade gave new life to the country. It 
furnished specie for paying taxes, and purchasing such 
necessaries as could not be obtained for barter. Pittsburgh 
profited greatly by this trade. Although but a small village, 
composed principally of log houses, yet it was then, as now, 
the central point of business for the country west of the 
mountains. The produce of the country was here exchanged 
for goods, chiefly obtained from Philadelphia. This was 
also the place of embarkation for all the military and mer- 
cantile expeditions, as well as emigrants, for the lower coun- 
try, and the resort of boat-builders, boatmen and pilots for 
the river. Being a military post, a considerable amount of 
Government money was annually expended here. These ad- 
vantages made it a favorable location for merchants and me- 
chanics, who found a ready demand for their iron, leather, 
hats, etc. The character of the citizens for sobriety and 
good morals was such, that farmers in the neighborhood 
sought to apprentice their sons to the mechanics of Pitts- 
burgh ; and these hard)" boys from the country rarely be- 
came dissipated, but grew up orderly and industrious, thus 
perpetuating the character for purity of morals, which the 
place still enjoys. Pittsburgh owes much of this reputation 
to John YYilkins, a magistrate under whose administration 
every violation of the law was promptly punished. Even the 
lawless boatmen stood in awe of him. 

The subject of education was sadly neglected both in 
Pittsburgh and the surrounding country. The first settlers 
were mostly Scotch and Irish, who, though sober, indus- 
trious and enterprising, prompt to relieve the distressed, and 
generous to assist the needy, yet had little taste for public 
improvements, and rarely contributed voluntarily for the 
promotion of any public object. They even paid their road 
tax grudgingly. They built no bridges, and would leave a 
tree accidentally fallen across the road, to lie there until it 
rotted. Their neglect of providing the means of education 


for their children was however their great error. While 
'struggling with adversity and combating the Indians, the 
establishment of schools in many of the frontier settlements 
was out of the question ; but after peace with the Indians 
had been effected, and provisions became abundant, there 
was no apology for neglecting the subject of education. 
Their school houses, when they were induced to build any, 
w r ere of the cheapest and most uninviting kind, built of logs, 
open, low and smoky, lighted with one, or at most two win- 
dows of greased paper. The schoolmaster was hired at the 
lowest wages, and generally one who could get no other em- 
ployment, and whose chief qualification was knowing how to 
use the rod. From such means of instruction little benefit 
could be expected. The boys of that day were brought up 
under circumstances which early inspired them with a wild, 
adventurous spirit, and gave them a premature ability for 
usefulness in the field. The}" very naturally preferred joining 
the men at their labor to being confined in the house to the 
study of Dillworth's Spelling Book, or John Rogers' Primer, 
the only school books I ever saw when a child. The scarcity 
of 'books was a great hindrance to those who had a taste for 
study. If a boy resolved to apply his leisure moments to 
reading, he was perhaps limited to Young's Night Thoughts, 
Hervey's Meditations, and Knox's History of the Church 
of Scotland. In the absence of other means of improvement, 
debating clubs were formed in some neighborhoods, which 
boys in their teens would attend, once a week, from a dis- 
tance of several miles. These meetings were encouraged by 
the parents, who frequently attended. Some of the mem- 
bers rose to high places in after life, and no doubt much of 
their success was owing to the stimulus which their minds 
received from those youthful associations. There was a 
feeble effort made in Pittsburgh and Washington [Pa.] to 
provide the means of education, and a successful one at 
Cannonsburgh, by a few enlightened men, at the head of 
whom was the Rev. Mr. McMullen. A college was early 
established, which has continued to be an eminently useful 

The General Government made but feeble efforts to nro- 


tect the frontier settlements on the< >hfo until after the adop- 
tion of the new Constitution. Only a few companies of 
regular troops were stationed there. In 1791 the Govern- 
ment, yielding- to the pressing importunities of the West, 
appointed Gen. Harmar to the command of the Western 
posts, preparatory to a campaign against the Indians. A 
draft was made on the militia of Western Pennsylvania and 
Kentucky for 1,200 men, who repaired to Fort Washington, 
where they were joined by 300 regulars, and marched into 
the Indian country. The Indians refused battle to the main 
body, but defeated one detachment of several hundred men 
on the Scioto, and routed with great slaughter, a still larger 
detachment on the An Glaize. A large proportion of the 
killed were of course militia. Both Kentucky and Western 
Pennsylvania were filled with mourning. The Indians, 
elated with their success, renewed their attacks on the fron- 
tier with increased force and ferocity. Meetings were called 
to devise means for defending the settlements. The policy 
of employing regular officers to command militia was de- 
nounced ; and petitions were extensively circulated, praying 
the President to employ militia only 'in defence of the fron- 
tier, and offering to embody immediately a sufficient force to 
carry the war into the Indian country. The President did 
not favor the prayer of the petitioners, but increased the 
regular army on the frontier, and appointed General St. 
Clair to the command. Energetic measures were adopted to 
furnish him with arms, stores, etc., for an early campaign, 
but the difficulties and delays incident to furnishing an army 
so far removed from military depots, with cannon, ammuni- 
tion, provisions, and the means of transportation, were so 
great that much time was lost before General St. Clair was 
able to move his army from Fort Washington, and then it 
was said to be in obedience to express orders, and against 
his own judgment, as he was provided neither with sufficient 
force, nor the means of transportation. He was attacked 
and most signally defeated. The killed and mortally 
wounded were over 700. The cannon, camp equipage and 
baggage of the army fell into the hands of the Indians. The 


disastrous failure of this campaign increased the iarrowine 
dissatisfaction of the settlers in Western Pennsylvania to 
the administration of the General Government. 

The Whiskey Insurrection. 

The Federal Constitution, which had recently been 
adopted, was not generally approved of in this section of the 
country. Many believed that the new government would 
usurp the power of the states, destroy the liberties of the 
people, and end in a consolidated aristocracy, if not in a 
monarchy. It was even alleged by many that the reason why 
General Washington had refused to entrust the defence of 
the frontiers to the people themselves, was his desire to in- 
crease the regular army, that it might be ultimately used for 
destroying their liberties. The defeat of Gen. St. Clair's 
army exposed the whole range of the frontier settlements on 
the Ohio to the fury of the Indians. The several settlements 
made the best arrangements in their power for their defence. 
The Government took measures for recruiting, as soon as 
possible, the western army. Gen. Wayne, a favorite with the 
western people, was appointed to the command : but a 
factious opposition in Congress to the military and financial 
plans of the Administration, delayed the equipment of the 
army for nearly two years. While Gen. Wayne was pre- 
paring to penetrate the Indian country in the summer of 
1794, the attention of the Indians was drawn to their own 
defence, and the frontiers were relieved from their attacks. 
But Western Pennsylvania, although relieved from war, 
seemed to have no relish for peace. Having been some time 
engaged in resisting the revenue laws, her opposition was 
now increased to insurrection. 

The seeds of party had been early sown and had taken 
deep root in the western counties. Every act of the General 
Government which manifested a spirit of conciliation to- 
wards the British ( who were charged with inciting the In- 


dians to war on the frontier), was regarded with marked 
disapprobation. The Irish population which prevailed in the 
country, generally sympathized with the French and felt the 
most lively interest in the French Revolution, and the highest 
respect for their agents in this country. The neutral policy 
which was adopted in relation to France and England was 
unpopular. Democratic societies were formed in every part 
of the country, the measures of the Government denounced, 
and especially the act of laying a duty on distilled spirits. 
This temper of disaffection was inflamed by the extensive 
circulation of newspapers, the organs of the French party, 
and of speeches of members of Congress in the French in- 
terest and opposed to the Administration. The ordinary 
means of counteracting the influence of these mischievous 
publications were limited. The newspapers which defended 
the policy of the Government had little circulation in the 
West, and the friends of the Administration neglected, until 
it was too late, to disabuse the public mind. 

The resistance to the excise law, from its first enactment. 
had been so decided and general, that the President desiring 
to remove its most objectionable features, recommended to 
Congress a modification of the act. This was done. The 
concession, however, served only to increase the opposition. 
Every expedient was adopted to avoid the payment of the 
duties. In order to allay opposition, as far as possible. Gen. 
John Neville, a man of the most deserved popularity, was 
appointed collector for Western Pennsylvania. He accepted 
the appointment from a sense of duty to his country. Fie 
was one of the few men of great wealth who put his all at 
hazard for independence. At his own expense he raised and 
equipped a company of soldiers, marched them to Boston, 
and placed them with his son under the command of Gen. 
Washington. He was brother-in-law to the distinguished 
Gen. Morgan, and father-in-law to Majors Craig and Kirk- 
patrick, officers highly respected in the western country. Be- 
sides Gen. Neville's claims as a soldier and patriot, he had 
contributed greatly to relieve the sufferings of the settlers 
in his vicinity. He divided his last loaf with the needy ; and 
in a season of more than ordinarv scarcitv, as soon as his 


wheat was sufficiently matured to be converted into food, he 
opened his fields to those who were suffering- with hunger. 
If any man could have executed this odious law, Gen. 
Xeville was that man. lie entered upon the duties of his 
office, and appointed his deputies from among the most 
popular citizens. 

The first attempts, however, to enforce the law were re- 
sisted. One or more deputies were tarred and feathered, 
others were compelled to give up their appointments to avoid 
like treatment. The opposers of the law, having proceeded, to 
open acts of resistance, now assumed a bolder attitude. An 
assembly of several hundred men proceeded in the night to 
Gen. Neville's house, and demanded the surrender of his 
commission, but, finding him prepared for defence, they at- 
tempted no violence. He had not doubted that there was 
sufficient patriotism in the country to enable the civil au- 
thorities to protect him in the discharge of his duty, but in 
this lie was mistaken. The magistrates were powerless. 
Their authority was set at defiance. Although a large ma- 
jority of the disaffected never dreamed of carrying their 
opposition to the measures of Government to open resistance, 
yet they had aided to create a tempest which they could 
neither direct nor allay. 

The population received a large increase yearly of Irish 
emigrants, who had been obliged to leave their own country 
on account of opposition to its government ; besides which 
there was a large floating population who had found em- 
ployment in guarding the frontiers, and who had nothing 
to lose by insurrection. Both of these classes joined the in- 
surgent part}" and even forced them to adopt more extreme 
measures than they had at first contemplated. They at 
length proceeded so far as to form an organized resistance 
to the law. Meetings were held, and officers appointed in 
the most excited districts. Several hundred men volunteered 
to take Gen. Xeville into immediate custody. His friends in 
Pittsburgh, being apprised of these movements, advised that 
measures should lie adopted for his protection. But they 
were greatly mistaken in relation to the amount of force 
which would be requisite. 


Maj. Kirkpatrick, with only a dozen soldiers from the 
garrison at Pittsburgh, repaired to Gen. Neville's house, 
which was that very evening (July 15th, ijg4) surrounded 
by about 500 men. The General, yielding to the importunity 

of his friends, had on the approach of the insurgents with- 
drawn from his house accompanied by his servant. The 
assailants demanded that the General and his papers should 
be given up to them. On being refused a tire was com- 
menced which continued some -time until Major McFarland, 
an influential citizen who was one of the assailants, was .shot. 
Gen. Neville's house was situated on an elevated plane which 
overlooked the surrounding country. A range of negro 
houses was on one side, and barns and stables on the other. 
These were fired by the assailants, and when the flames were 
about to communicate with the dwelling-house the party 
within surrendered. The soldiers were dismissed. The son 
of Gen. Neville, who came up during the attack, was taken 
prisoner, but with Maj. Kirkpatrick, was released on condi- 
tion of leaving the country. 

This violent outrage produced a strong sensation. It 
was in the season of harvest, when the people of the sur- 
rounding country were collected in groups to aid each other 
in cutting their grain. During the day it became known 
that preparations were making to take Gen. Neville. As he 
could call to his aid nearly a hundred of his faithful slaves, 
who had learned the use of arms in the Indian war, it was 
believed that he would defend himself. Few if any of the 
immediate neighbors of the General were engaged in the at- 
tack, but instead of going to his defence, they collected from 
a distance of several miles around, and selected the most 
favorable positions in the neighborhood for listening to, or 
seeing the anticipated attack. 

At about ten o'clock in the evening I witnessed the com- 
mencement of the tire, at a distance of two miles, and saw 
the flames ascend from- the burning houses until the actors 
in the scene became visible in the increasing light. It was a 
painful sight, especiallv to those who had experienced the 
hospitalitv of the only tine mansion in the country, to see it 
destroved bv a lawless mob, and its inmates exposed to their 


fury. Even those who were opposed to the measures of the 
Administration, and had countenanced resistance to the exe- 
cution of the excise law, were overwhelmed at this appalling 
commencement of open insurrection. Meetings were pro- 
posed by the friends of order for the purpose of concerting 
measures for their own security, but so much time was lost 
in deliberation, that the insurgents became too strong to be 
resisted. Men of property and influence who had become 
compromised in the destruction of Gen. Neville's house, 
exerted themselves to involve the whole country in open re- 
sistance to the laws. Several officers of the Government, and 
others whose influence was feared, were forced to leave the 
country. The mail was robbed and the names of the writers 
of several letters found in it, were added to the list of the 
proscribed. Those who were thus expelled from their coun- 
try, dared not take the usual road across the mountains, but 
were compelled to proceed by a dangerous and circuitous 
route through the wilderness. 

The insurgents seemed resolved that there should be no 
neutrals in the country. Immediately after the first outbreak 
they called a general meeting at Braddock's Field to decide 
upon the measures which should be further taken in relation 
to the excise. Some 7,000 or S,ooo assembled, and an attorney 
from Washington named Bradford, assumed the command. 
He was a blustering demagogue, and destitute of the cour- 
age and decision necessary to direct an insurrection. The 
leaders had no plan digested for future action, nor could this 
extraordinary assemblage, whose grotesque appearance it 
would require a Falstaff to describe, tell for what purpose 
they had come together. A committee was appointed to de- 
liberate. Hugh Henry Breckenridge, a distinguished lawyer 
of Pittsburgh, who tilled a large space in the country, and 
was known as an opposer of some of the measures of the 
Administration, and therefore presumed to be in favor of 
resistance, was appointed on this committee. Possessing 
great power of persuasion, he succeeded in preventing the 
committee from recommending energetic measures and 
urged moderation until the effect of the past resistance 
should be known. The report of the committee merely 


recommended the holding of a meeting by delegates from the 
several towns in the country at Parkinson's ferry a few 
weeks ensuing. 

On receiving this report much dissatisfaction was mani- 
fested. The assembly however dispersed, 2,000 or 3,000 men 
only marching in a body to Pittsburgh. A portion of these 
proposed to burn the place, but the kindness of the citi- 
zens in supplying them with provisions, and the influence of 
the more respectable of their associates, induced them to 
leave the village unharmed. They contented themselves 
with burning the mansion of Maj. Kirkpatrick in the vicin- 
ity. In the meantime, the country was in a state of great 
alarm. Parties of the most reckless of the insurgents, freed 
from all restraints of law, paraded the country, and threat- 
ened destruction to all tories and aristocrats (epithets ap- 
plied to all who did not join them). In face of all these 
dangers, however, many of the towns sent as delegates, 
friends of law. and supporters of the Administration. 

The Whiskey Insurrection, Concluded. 

The President, desirous to avoid the use of force, had 
appointed three commissioners to repair to the western 
country, and offer pardon to all offenders who would return 
to their duty, and submit to the laws. These commissioners 
arrived about the time of the meeting of the convention. 
Some of the delegates to the convention were men of dis- 
tinguished abilitv; at their head was Albert Gallatin. Al- 
though a foreigner, who could with difficulty make himself 
understood in English, yet he presented with great force the 
folly of past resistance, and the ruinous consequences to the 
country of the continuance of the insurrection. He urged 
that the Government was bound to vindicate the laws, and 
that it would surely send an overwhelming force against 
them, unless the proposed amnesty was accepted. Mr. Gal- 


latin placed the subject in a new light, and showed the in- 
surrection to be a much more serious affair than it had 
before appeared. The ardor of the most reckless was mod- 
erated. A conference was had with the Government com- 
missioners, and the question whether the country should 
submit or not, was earnestly discussed. A strong disposi- 
tion was manifested to accept the terms proposed. The 
acts of violence which had already been committed, made 
some of the leaders tremble in view of what might follow. 
The machinery of the so-called democratic clubs was found 
not to work so well in this country as in Paris, and Lynch 
law, executed by a set of desperadoes, was proved to be a 
poor exchange for the protection of law regularly admin- 

Many who had been seduced from their allegiance re- 
pented of their folly, and would gladly have retraced their 
steps, but this it was not easy to do. They dreaded the ven- 
geance of their associates. "The Sons of Liberty," as the 
insurgents styled themselves, could not bear traitors, and 
those who forsook their party were exposed to they knew 
not what acts of violence and outrage. For notwithstanding 
the returning good sense of many, there were others who 
still entertained such deep prejudices against the Adminis- 
tration, and had imbibed such wild notions of liberty, that 
they desired the separation of the West from the Lnion. 
They were deceived by exaggerated accounts of the disaf- 
fection which prevailed throughout Pennsylvania, Kentucky, 
and West Virginia. It had been represented from these 
places, that if Western Pennsylvania would successfully re- 
sist for a few months their cause would be espoused by a 
party so strong as to set the General Government at defiance. 
Although the convention was in favor of submission, yet as 
their constituents had not delegated to them the power of 
settling that question, it was concluded to refer it back to the 
people, who in town meetings should decide it for them- 

Earlv in September the gratifying news was received 
that Gen. Wayne had gained a signal victory over the com- 
bined force oi the Indians on the Maumee. It not onlv 


removed the dissatisfaction to which the great delays at- 
tending the campaign had given rise, but it was the best 

possible -illustration of the benefits to be derived from tin- 
protection of the General Government, which had been 
greatly underrated. As a permanent peace with the Indians 
was now considered certain, this increased the desire for 
tranquility at home. The citizens convened in town meetings 
to consider the terms of submission proposed by the com- 
missioners of the Government, printed copies of which had 
been distributed through the country. In some townships 
the meetings failed entirely, in others they were interrupted 
and dispersed before having accomplished any business. 
But in a large majority of the townships the attendance was 
general, good order was preserved, and the submission 
papers very generally signed. These results inspired the 
friends of Government with courage and greatly dispirited 
the insurgents. By the first of October tranquility and good 
order were in a great measure restored. 

But as there were still malcontents in the country who 
resisted the execution of the revenue laws, the Government 
marched forward the army which it had for some time been 
organizing, consisting of about 14,000 militia from Virginia, 
Maryland, Xew Jersey and Pennsylvania. An unusual 
quantity of rain having fallen during the autumn, the army 
suffered greatly on their march, particularly several regi- 
ments composed of mechanics, merchants and others from 
the cities who were not inured to such hardships. They be- 
came so disheartened, that if the passes of the mountains 
had been disputed by only a thousand resolute insurgents, 
the army might have been greatly embarrassed, if not de- 
feated. But they met no resistance, either in the mountains 
or the infected districts. Bradford and a few others who 
had most to fear tied to the Spanish country on the 
Mississippi ; other equally guilty but less notorious offend- 
ers sought securitv in sequestered settlements. "Not a dog 
wagged his tongue'' against the army which advanced to 
Pittsburgh and took up their quarters. Gen. Hamilton. 
Secretarv of the Treasurv. represented the Government, and 
his quarters were soon thronged with informers, and those 


who had suffered from the insurgents, and sought compen- 

A kind of inquisitorial court was opened in which testi- 
mony was taken against individuals denounced for treason- 
able acts or expressions. Many of the informers, influenced 
by prejudice or malice, implicated those who had been guilty 
of no offence against the Government. After a few days 
spent in these "star chamber" proceedings, the dragoons 
were put in requisition, and the officers furnished with the 
names of the offenders, proceeded with guides, of whom 
there was no lack, to arrest them. Such of the proscribed as 
apprehended no danger, were soon taken, and, without any 
intimation of the offence with which they stood charged, or 
time for preparation, about 300 were carried to Pittsburgh. 
Here many found acquaintances, and influential friends, who 
interposed in their behalf, and obtained their immediate re- 
lease. Others, less fortunate, were sent to Philadelphia for 
trial, where they were imprisoned for ten or twelve months 
without even indictments being found against them. But 
few of the really guilty were taken, while many who had 
committed no offence against the law, but unfortunately had 
fallen under the displeasure of an informer, suffered the 
punishment due only to the guilty. The following may 
serve as an instance : 

A lieutenant of the army, while it was halting at Pitts- 
burgh, visited his uncle in the vicinity, and accompanied him 
to a husking party, where on using the term rebel, as ap- 
plicable to the citizens generally, he was rebuked by a re- 
spectable old gentleman of the party. The officer replied 
insolently, upon which a young man (for young men in that 
day always felt bound to protect the aged), interposed and 
would have treated him with the severity he deserved, had 
not my father, begged him off. The officer returned to 
Pittsburgh, and the next day, both of those who had of- 
fended him at the husking, were arrested. The young man 
found friends who procured his liberation, but the old man, 
notwithstanding efforts were made for his release, was im- 
prisoned for more than six months. I believe that but a 
single individual was tried. This was one of the mail rob- 


bers, who was convicted of treason, and sentenced to be 
hung, hut was finally pardoned. 

The army remained at Pittsburgh only long enough to 

recruit from fatigue and receive their pay. Many of them. 
disgusted with a soldier's life, obtained their discharge, and 
either settled in the country, or purchased horses on which 
to return home. A few battalions only of the army were 
retained in the country through the winter ; the remainder 
resumed their march and recrossed the mountains. 

In order more effectually to eradicate the insurrection- 
ary spirit which had disturbed the country, a regiment of 
dragoons was enlisted from such citizens as were well af- 
fected toward the Government, and stationed in several set- 
tlements. A detachment of this force was kept constantly 
in motion. Sometimes they accompanied the excise officers, 
who visited every distillery in the country. Some of them 
being situated in deep ravines, remote from traveled roads, 
had escaped the notice of the excise officers before the in- 
surrection, but they were now brought to light, as there were 
informers enough to disclose all delinquencies. 

The excise law did not impose a duty per gallon, but a 
specific sum computed on the capacity of the still for each 
month that it was licensed to run. Distillers everywhere 
submitted to this law, although their opinions of its justice 
or policv might not have undergone any great change. 
Those who had worked their stills secretly, or in open dis- 
regard of the law, were now obliged either to pay up, or 
secure all arrearages, before they could obtain a license. 
During the winter many of the most desperate of the agita- 
tors left the country. In the spring the military was with- 
drawn and business resumed its wonted course. 

The insurrection for a time threatened the most disas- 
trous consequences, and if it had not been promptly crushed 
might have subverted the Government. Yet it was not with- 
out its advantages. Its suppression tested the patriotism of 
the people, and their attachment to the Constitution, points 
on which there had been much doubt, both at home and 
abroad. The practical experiment of raising a large army 
bv draft, of militia, from several states, and marching them 


in an inclement season, under great privations, several hun- 
dred miles to suppress a revolt, was a most gratifying: evi- 
dence that the Government was founded in the affections of 
the people, and that, however they might differ about the 
mode of its administration, yet the Government itself was to 
be sustained. 

Xor was it the Government alone that profited by the 
insurrection. The rapid growth of the country west of the 
mountains may be dated from that period. Although the 
country had for years abounded in stock and provisions, yet 
there was no home market where either could be sold for 
cash. There was little money in circulation and of course 
little stimulus to industry. The price of a cow in barter was 
about §5, and of a good horse from $10 to $20. Wheat 
was about 30 cents a bushel. But the army created a de- 
mand for both provisions and horses, which increased their 
value from 100 to 300 per cent. Nearly $1,000,000 of 
Government money was paid out in the country. Had 
Western Pennsylvania been compelled to refund this 
amount, as the penalty of her revolt, she would still have 
been a gainer. A large accession of settlers from the army 
greatly increased the price of land, money became plenty, 
and a cash home market was established. 

But the prosperity which resulted from the insurrection 
did not wipe away its reproach. The character of the people 
suffered greatly, and the more so as the actual causes of this 
insurrection were misunderstood and misrepresented. It 
has generally been believed that the Western people were so 
devoid of patriotism, and so insensible to the blessings of a 
free government, that they refused to be taxed for its sup- 
port ; and that they regarded whiskey so necessary an article 
of consumption as to be unwilling to have its price enhanced 
by a duty. These opinions do them great injustice. Al- 
though the citizens generally were in the habit of drinking 
whiskey, yet strange as it may appear at this day, the}' were 
not drunkards. The custom of the country was to furnish 
whiskey in harvest ; and at all collections of neighbors to 
aid each other in log-rollings, raising cabins or husking corn, 
whiskey was indispensable. The prevailing forms of hos- 


pitality could not be carried out without it. If one neighbor 
called on another to make a visit or do an errand, the bottle 
and a cup of water were invariably presented him, after be- 
ing first tasted by the host, who drank to the health of his 
griest. Women treated their visitors with whiskey made 
palatable with sugar, milk and spices. It was used as a 
medicine in several diseases, and proved an unfailing remedy 
in some. Among- laborers the bottle was passed around, and 
there was always some kind-hearted man to see that the little 
boys were not forgotten. Morning bitters were generally 
used, and a dram before meals. But this common use of 
liquor was not limited to Western Pennsylvania, it prevailed 
in all the new settlements, if not over the United States. 

There was nothing, at that day, disreputable in either 
drinking or making whiskey. Distilling was esteemed as 
moral and respectable as any other business. It was early 
commenced and extensively carried on in Western Pennsyl- 
vania. There was neither home nor foreign market for rye, 
the principal grain then raised in that part of the country, 
and which was a profitable and sure crop. The grain would 
not bear packing across the mountains ; a horse could not 
carry more than four bushels of it, but could carry the 
product of 24 bushels when converted into high wines, which 
found a market east of the mountains, and could be used in 
the purchase of salt, goods, etc. The settlers at an early day 
calculated that the whiskey trade would become a great 
source of wealth to the country, when the right way to Xew 
Orleans should have been settled and that market fully 
opened to their produce. Monongahela whiskey was reputed 
to be superior to any in the United States, and had the pref- 
erence in every market. There was very naturally a general 
disposition to engage in distilling, as the only business which 
promised sure gain ; and the people of Western Pennsyl- 
vania regarded a tax on whiskey in the same light as the 
citizens of Ohio would now regard a United States tax on 
lard, pork or flour. 

There were many aggravating circumstances calculated 
to render the whiskey tax odious, and to array the western 
people in hostility to the Government. For years they had 


suffered unspeakable hardships and privations; the Govern- 
ment had neither protected the frontiers from Indian mas- 
sacres, nor paid the militia service of the settlers, and the 
Western posts had been suffered to remain in possession of 
the British, contrary to the treaty of peace. Thus exposed, 
and deprived of the advantages of peace, which were en- 
joved bv the rest of the United States, destitute of money 
and the means of procuring it, a direct tax appeared to them 
unjust and oppressive. Unjust, because they had nc t re- 
ceived that protection which every government owes to its 
citizens : oppressive, because the tax was levied on the 
scanty product of their agricultural labor, and was required 
to be paid in specie, or its equivalent, which could not be 
furnished. Whether these opinions were well founded or 
not. it is doubtful whether even the law-abiding descendants 
of the Pilgrims would have quietly submitted to the law 
under just such circumstances. The settlers cultivated their 
land for years at the peril of their lives. Like the Jews 
under Xehemiah, their weapons of defence were never laid 
aside : ami when by extraordinary efforts they were enabled 
to raise a little more grain than their immediate wants re- 
quired, they were met with a law restraining them in the 
libertv of doing what they pleased with the surplus. 

The policy of laying a direct tax on the products of labor, 
found few advocates in the western country, and many 
violent opposers. It was contended that a tax on whiskey 
was but the commencement of a system of taxation as odious 
and oppressive as that of the British Government, which had 
^iven rise to the War of the Revolution, and that, if the 
system were carried out, independence would prove but an 
empty name. It was argued that if rye could not be con- 
verted into whiskey without a license from Government, 
wool could not be converted into a hat, nor a hide into boots 
without its special permission; and that it was against 
just such assumptions of power that the American people 
had rebelled* and had continued for seven years to pour out 
their blood freely rather than submit to the evils and de- 
grading consequences of British taxation. They had fought 
for libertv, and not for a change of masters; and while the 


wounds they had received in battling against tyrants were 
scarcely yet healed, it is not astonishing that they should re- 
gard with abhorrence the swarm of Government officers 
which even-where beset them, spying into their domestic af- 
fairs, and demanding, with official arrogance, more than a 
tithe of their hard labor. This was too much to be borne bv 
men who were imbued with the wild spirit of liberty which 
then pervaded our country. Whatever might have been the 
necessities of Government, or however defensible the prin- 
ciple of direct taxation, a more critical time to make the ex- 
periment could not have been selected. Our whole country 
was agitated witli political discussions. The political 
volcano which had broken out in France, and was sweeping 
over Europe like a sea of lava, threatening to overwhelm in 
its fury all forms of government, cast its frightful glare 
across the Atlantic, and so perverted the political vision as to 
make law appear like tyranny, and anarchy like liberty. 

Channel of Trade — Western Boatmen. 

The prosperity and security resulting to the people from 
the suppression of the insurrection, were increased by a 
treaty concluded at Greenville* with the combined Indian 
tribes, who had made war on our frontiers. This treaty was 
hailed with joy by all the settlers. The Ohio frontiers had 
long suffered all the horrors of Indian war: many children 
had lost their parents, many widows mourned their mur- 
dered husbands, and many mothers their lost children, some 
of whom had been for years in captivity among the Indians, 
and some sold to the French or English and held in bondage 
in Canada. Provision was made in the treaty for restoration 
of these captives. But it was not the frontiers alone which 
were to profit by a lasting peace with the Indians. Great 

* The treaty of Greenville. O., signed Aug. ;,. 1795. between Gen. Wayne 
and ten of the Northwest tribes, ceded to the United States about two thirds of 
the present State of Ohio. 


national interests were promoted by it. The frontier posts, 
Mackinaw, Detroit, Xiagara, and ( )s\vego, which the British 

had continued to occupy in violation of the treaty of peace, 
were soon after surrendered. The British no longer pos- 
sessed the power of exciting the Indians to war, and of fur- 
nishing them supplies, which, it was alleged, they had been 
in the practice of doing. 

The occupation of these posts by the American army, 
opened new fields of enterprise. The garrisons were to be 
supplied with provisions, ordnance and military stores. 
These could only be transported by vessels on the lakes, 
which had to be built, fitted out, and manned. This gave 
profitable employ to a large number of laborers. 

Among others, whose attention was drawn to this new 
field of enterprise opened on the lakes, was Gen. James 
O'Hara, a distinguished citizen of Pittsburgh. He entered 
into a contract with the Government to supply Oswego with 
provisions, which could then be furnished from Pittsburgh 
cheaper than from the settlements on the Mohawk. Gen. 
O'Hara was a far-sighted calculator ; he had obtained cor- 
rect information in relation to the manufacture of salt at 
Salina, and in his contract for provisioning the garrison, he 
had in view the supplying of the western country with salt 
from Onondaga. This was a project which few men would 
have thought of, and fewer undertaken. The means of 
transportation had to be created on the whole line, boats and 
teams had to be provided to get the salt from the works to 
Oswego, a vessel built to transport it to the landing below 
the falls, wagons procured to carry it to Schlosser ; then 
boats constructed to carry it to Black Rock; there another 
vessel was required to transport it to Erie. The road to the 
head of French Creek had to be improved, and the salt car- 
ried in wagons across the portage, and finally boats provided 
to float it to Pittsburgh. It required no ordinary sagacity 
and perseverance to give success to this speculation. Gen. 
O'Hara. however, could execute as well as plan. He packed 
his flour and provisions in barrels suitable for salt. These 
were reserved in his contract. Arrangements were made 
with the manufacturers, and the necessary advances paid, to 


secure a supply of salt. Two vessels were built, one on Lake 
Erie and one on Lake Ontario, and the means of transporta- 
tion on all the various sections of the line were secured. The 
plan fully succeeded, and salt of a pretty fair quality was 
delivered at Pittsburgh, and sold at four dollars per bushel: 
just half the price of the salt obtained by packing across the 
mountains. The vocation of the packers was gone. The 
trade opened by this man, whose success was equal to his 
merits, and who led the way in every great enterprise of the 
day, was extensively prosecuted by others. A large amount 
of capital was invested in the salt trade, and the means of 
transportation so greatly increased that in a few years Pitts- 
burgh market was supplied with ( )nondaga salt at twelve 
dollars per barrel of five bushels. 

Much of the surplus produce of the country bordering on 
the lower Ohio and its branches, which rapidly increased 
after the permanent peace with the Indians, could find no 
other market than Pittsburgh. This rendered an ascending 
navigation indispensable to the prosperity of the country, 
and led to the introduction of keel-boats. These boats were 
long and narrow, sharp at bow and stern, and of light draft. 
They were provided with running-boards, extending from 
bow to stern, on each side of the boat. The space between 
the running-boards was enclosed and roofed with boards 
or shingles. These boats would carry from 20 to 40 tons 
of freight, well protected from the weather, and required 
from six to ten men, besides the captain, who steered the 
boat, to propel them up stream. Each man was provided 
with a pole with a heavy socket. The crew, divided equally 
on each side, set their poles near the head of the boat, and 
bringing the end of the pole to their shoulders, with their 
bodies bent, walked slowly down the running-board to the 
stern, returning at a quick pace to the bow for a new set. 

In ascending rapids, the greatest effort of the whole crew 
was required, so that only one at a time could shift his pole. 
This ascending of rapids was attended with great danger, 
especially if the channel was rocky. The slightest error in 
pushing or steering the boat exposed her to be thrown across 
the current, and to be brought sidewise in contact with rocks 


which would destroy her. Or, if she escaped injury the 
crew would have lost caste who had let their boat swing 1 in 
the rapids. A boatman who could not boast that he had 
never swung nor backed in a shoot, was regarded with con- 
tempt, and never trusted with the head pole, the place of 
honor among the keel-boatmen. It required much practice 
to become a first-rate boatman, and none would be taken, 
even on trial, who did not possess great muscular power. 

The Life of the Keel-Boatmen. 

Hard and fatiguing as was the life of a boatman, it was 
rare that any of the class exchanged his vocation. There 
was a charm in the excesses, the fightings and the frolics 
which the boatmen anticipated at the end of their voyage, 
which cheered them on. Such an effeminate expression as 
"I am tired," never escaped the mouth of a boatman. After 
the labors of the day, he went to rest highly stimulated with 
whiskey, rose from his hard bed with the first dawn of day, 
and with a large draught of bitters reanimated his exhausted 
powers and was ready to obey the order, "Stand to your 
poles and set off." As the boats were laid to for the night in 
an eddy, a part of the crew could give them headway on 
starting in the morning, while the others struck up a tune on 
their fiddles, and commenced their day's work with music to 
scare away the devil and secure good luck. The boatmen, as 
a class, were masters of the fiddle, and the music, heard 
through the distance from these boats, was more sweet and 
animating than any I have ever heard since. When the boats 
stopped for the night at or near a settlement, a dance was 
got up, if possible, which all the boatmen would attend, leav- 
ing the cook to watch the boat, and woe betide him if he was 
not found watching when they returned. Those inhabitants 
who shunned their acquaintance or did not receive them 
with a hearty welcome were sure to suffer for it either in 
person or property. Respectable families, therefore, who 


could not join in their revels and participate in their ex- 
cesses, were careful not to settle where they would be ex- 
posed to their visits. The families on or near the banks of 
the river accessible to the boatmen, were generally the hard- 
est of characters. 

As the use of the pole required a much greater exer- 
cise of the muscles of the body than the ordinary or per- 
haps any other manual labor, these men acquired incredible 
strength and hardiness, which they sought opportunities of 
displaying. Fist-fighting was their pastime. The man who 
boasted that he had never been whipped, had attained to a 
dangerous eminence among his fellows, and was bound to 
give fight to whoever disputed his superiority. The keel- 
boatmen regarded the flat-boatmen and raftsmen with great 
contempt, and declared perpetual war against them. "\Yhere- 
ever they met, a battle would ensue. They had their laws, 
which were strictly observed. If the crew of a flat-boat or a 
raft were to be whipped, an equal number of keel-boatmen 
volunteered or were detailed for the service ; and if they 
were worsted in the fight none interfered for their relief. 
They were great sticklers for fair play. They often com- 
mitted great excesses in the villages where their voyages 
terminated, breaking furniture, demolishing bars and tav- 
erns, and pulling down fences, sheds, and signs. One of 
their favorite amusements was sweeping the streets in dark 
evenings. This was done with a long rope extended across 
the street ; a party of men having hold of each end moved 
forward quickly, tripping up and capsizing whatever hap- 
pened to be within the scope of the rope. Men, women and 
children, horses, carts and cattle were overturned. The 
mischief accomplished, the actors would retreat to their boats 
and conceal their rope, while those of their comrades who 
had not engaged in the sweep remained behind to enjoy the 

The branches of the Ohio, such as the Cumberland, the 
Kentucky, the Scioto, etc., could be ascended only in the 
spring and fall, in consequence of low water ; the freighting 
on these rivers was therefore limited to a short period, and 
this brought many hundreds of the boatmen together. 


These assemblages would sometimes set the civil authorities 

at defiance for days together. Their riotous and lawless con- 
duct was carried to such a length that sober men began to 
regard them with apprehension, fearing that if their num- 
bers increased with the increase of transportation on the 
western rivers, they would endanger the peace of the coun- 
try. But intemperate, profane and riotous as they were, 
they had some redeeming qualities. They were trustworthy. 
Money uncounted was safe in their hands, and if freight was 
damaged by accident or carelessness, they never hesitated to 
make full compensation for the damage. Although they 
would not hesitate to rob a hen-roost, yet they would expose 
themselves to any fatigue to preserve a cargo from injury, 
and would not pilfer an article connected with their freight. 
They always espoused the cause of the weaker party, and 
would take up the quarrels of an old man whether he was 
right or wrong. 

As they were scarcely ever sober, of course they were 
short-lived ; but their ranks were easily recruited from the 
voung men who had been brought up in the frontier settle- 
ments, man}- of whom had acquired a restless and lawless 
spirit, which made them unwilling to submit to the restraints 
of society and eager to associate in some exciting and peril- 
ous enterprise. The transportation by keel-boats, although 
expensive and tedious, was as much superior to horse- 
packing as -steamboats are to keel-boats. In packing it re- 
quired one man and five horses to transport half a ton, say 
20 miles per day. With a keel-boat, ascending the river, 
each man could push forward from two to three tons in a 
favorable state of the water, with nearly the same speed as 
the packer. Everybody was satisfied with the keel-boat. 
Xo one expected or thought of a more expeditious mode of 
transportation. The whole business arrangements of the 
countrv were conformed to it, and but for the application of 
steam to navigation, "Mike Fink" (immortalized by Morgan 
Neville), would not have been the "last of the boatmen/' 
They might have continued for centuries, blighting the 
moral destinies of millions. But the first steamboat that 
ascended the Ohio, sounded their death-knell. 


Land Speculations. 

After tranquility had been restored to Western Pennsyl- 
vania, the state lost no time in surveying that portion of her 
territory which lay northwest of the Ohio and Allegheny 
rivers ; hut she adopted a plan for encouraging the settle- 
ment of these lands, which resulted in great injustice to the 
settlers, and gave rise to long-, protracted and ruinous litiga- 
tion. For a small sum, the Legislature granted to a number 
of rich speculators, associated under the style of the "Popu- 
lation Company," the right of locating a large portion of 
the country surveyed, extending from the Allegheny and 
Ohio rivers to the lake, and westward to the territorial (now 
Ohio) line. The company intended that their purchase 
should cover all the choice lands within these limits. It was 
conditioned in their grant, that by a given day the company 
should cause certain improvements to be made on each tract 
of 400 acres which they had selected. Among these im- 
provements was the erection of a cabin, which should be 
tenanted by an able-bodied settler, who should continue to 
reside on said tract, and clear, fence and cultivate a certain 
portion of it. 

The company expected that settlers would gladly em- 
brace the opportunity of settling on their lands on receiving 
a clear deed of 150 or 200 acres, and that the half or more of 
each tract which they reserved to themselves, would sell for 
a high price when the country became well improved. 

The Legislature, in order to effect the settlement of those 
parts of the surveyed territory which should not have been 
selected by the Population Company, passed an act granting 
400 acres to every settler who should enter upon and 
improve the same within a specified time. It did not re- 
quire great sagacity to prefer the terms offered by the state 
to those offered by the company. The settlement duties to 
be performed were the same, and when complied with the 
settler could, by paving a small sum to the state, have a deed 
of 400 acres; whereas those who settled under the company 
would have but 150, or at most 200 acres. 


As the territory to be settled was contiguous to Pitts- 
burgh, where necessaries could be obtained, settlers flocked 
to it by companies, and all the good tracts, not located by the 
Population Company, were soon taken up. 

Causes of difficult)' and litigation commenced with the 
settlement. Two persons would often enter on the same lot, 
one claiming under the state and the other under the com- 
pany, and neither would yield his claim. They either tested 
their rights by a fight on the spot, or resorted to litigation. 
Sometimes these collisions were owing to mistakes occa- 
sioned by the lines of lots located by the company not being 
sufficiently marked, and sometimes from a determination on 
the part of settlers under the state to secure the best lands by 
possession, and put the company at defiance. The company 
did not succeed as well as they expected in settling their 
lands. The law under which they claimed was unpopular, 
and many disregarded it. When the time allowed the com- 
pany for settlement had expired, it was supposed that all 
their unsettled locations reverted to the state, and were fairly 
open to settlers. They were therefore taken up and im- 

But the company, who had taken the precaution to have 
a proviso in their first contract with the state, which granted 
them an extension of time if the settlement should be inter- 
rupted by Indian hostilities, alleged that their settlement had 
been thus interrupted, that some surveyor or settler had 
either been killed or his life endangered by Indians. The 
settlers denied this, alleging on their part that the company 
had hired some vagabonds to personify Indians and get up 
an alarm to enable them to effect their purpose. Settlers on 
the companv's land were in some places maltreated, threat- 
ened with violence, and compelled to relinquish their con- 
tracts with the company and join the popular party. 

The company resorted to law and brought suits in eject- 
ment. Some of the settlers, relying on maintaining forcible 
possession, neglected the suits, and judgment was rendered 
against many by default. In some cases families were ousted 
in an inclement season of the year; but the settlers made 
common cause with the sufferers, contributed to their relief. 


and restored them to their possessions. Suits were at first 
brought in the state court, but when these were defended, 
the company had little chance of a fair trial, as their cause 
was unpopular, and juries generally favored the settlers. 
The company at length resorted to the District Court of the 
United States, which was then held in Philadelphia. The 
settlers objected to the jurisdiction, but as some members of 
the company were citizens of other states the suits were sus- 
tained. This decision was fatal to the settlers, few of whom 
were able to fee foreign counsel, or even to attend court on 
court at Philadelphia, much less to send their witnesses 
there. But the company, composed of rich and influential 
individuals, and able to secure the best legal talent, as a 
matter of course succeeded. Many of the litigant settlers 
who had lost their suits, quit the country to avoid paying 
the costs : others, unable to purchase their farms, or dis- 
gusted with a country where they had spent so many years 
under the painful uncertainty of litigation, and believing 
themselves grievously oppressed, resolved to seek some other 
home. The territory was depopulated as rapidly as it had 
been settled. Whole neighborhoods were deserted, and the 
improved lands again became a forest. 

Many of these emigrants found a home in Xew Connec- 
ticut, as the Western Reserve was then called. This district 
of country was surveyed and brought into market a short 
time after the Pennsylvania district adjoining it. On the 
Reserve there were no questionable titles — there was no land 
to be given away. The settler could not even obtain a con- 
tract without paying down some part of the purchase money.' 
The hunting, trapping, ragged loafer found no resting-place 
there. The policy pursued by the State of Connecticut in 
bringing the Reserve into market, the low prices and liberal 
terms at which the land was sold, and the encouragement 
given to settlers by aiding them to open roads and erect pub- 
lic buildings, were eminently wise; and our country presents 
no better example of a heavy forest converted — in so short a 
time, and to so great an extent — into well-cultivated farms, 
occupied by intelligent, moral and enterprising people. 

But rapid improvements in the West were not limited to 


the Reserve. Every avenue to the great valley of the Ohio 
was thronged with emigrants from the East and the South. 
The Indians, having been forced to relinquish the hunting- 
grounds which they had occupied for ages, withdrew to their 
reservations : and scarcely had the fires gone out in their 
deserted wigwams, before their places were occupied by the 
abodes of civilization and refinement. 


Beginning of Buffalo Harbor. 

The war which had swept over the Niagara frontier, had 
impoverished the inhabitants of the little place that has since 
grown into the City of the Lakes. Their property had been 
destroyed — they were embarrassed by debts contracted in 
rebuilding their houses which had been burned by the 
enemy; they were without capital to prosecute to advantage 
mechanical or mercantile employments ; without a harbor, 
or any means of participating in the lake trade, and were 
suffering, with the country at large, all the evils of a de- 
ranged currency. In the midst of these accumulated em- 
barrassments, the construction of the Erie Canal was begun, 
and promised help. However distant might be the time of 
its completion. Buffalo was to be its terminating point ; and 
when the canal was completed, our village would become a 
city. But no craft larger than a canoe could enter Buffalo 
Creek. All forwarding business was done at Black Rock, 
and the three or four small vessels that were owned in Buf- 
falo, received and discharged their cargoes at that place. A 
harbor was then indispensably necessary at the terminus of 
the canal ; and unless one could be constructed at Buffalo 
before the western section of the canal was located, it might 
terminate at Black Rock. This was the more to be appre- 
hended, as an opinion prevailed, that harbors could not 
be made on the lakes, at the mouths of the rivers. But a 
harbor we were resolved to have. Application was accord- 
inglv made to the Legislature for a survev of the creek, and 


an act was passed on the ioth of April, 1818, authorizing 1 the 
survey, and directing the supervisors of the county of Niag- 
ara to pay three dollars a day to the surveyor, and to assess 
the amount upon the county. The survey was made by the 
present Hon. William Peacock, during the summer of that 
year, gratuitously:* Then came the important question, 
where to get the money to build this harbor? At that day- 
no one thought of looking to Congress for appropriations, 
and there was no encouragement to apply to the Legislature 
of the State. The citizens could not raise the means, how- 
ever willing they might have been. 

A public meeting was called, and an agent (the Hon. 
Charles Townsend) was appointed to proceed to Albany 
and obtain a loan. Jonas Harrison, Ebenezer Walden, H. B. 
Potter, J. G. Camp, (). Forward, A. H. Tracy, E. Johnson, 
E. F. Xorton and Charles Townsend, were the applicants. 
Judge Townsend, after a protracted effort, succeeded, and 

* Mr. Peacock's work stimulated the advocates of rival localities. In the 
Albany Argus of Feb. 19, 1819, appeared a communication, signed "Projector," 
in which a project for a city of "Erie" at the head of Grand Island is thus 

"There has lately been laid on the tables of the Legislature a report by- 
William Peacock, Esq., on a plan and place of a harbor for the east end of 
Lake Erie. ... In this harbor must meet all the numerous vessels of the 
upper lakes, and the almost countless boats of the Erie Canal. Above all things 
the harbor ought to be a capacious one. Buffalo Creek! Where two schooners 
can but just pass each other — this can never be the place. 

"In the report of the Canal Commissioners of 181 7, page 6, the expense of 
making the canal from Buffalo Creek for three miles (to wit, to the lower end 
of Black Rock rapids) is estimated at $68,118, and in the same page a wall or 
mound in the river for one mile is put at between $15,000 and $16,000. But a 
wall of a mile in length, made parallel to the shore, having a lock of four feet 
lift at the lower end, will completely overcome the Black Rock rapid, and let 
the lake vessels into a harbor below, in every respect the very thing it ought to 
be — capacious as is the vast design for which it is wanted. Now where shall 
stand the city at which these lake vessels shall meet? The upper end of Grand 
Island is a beautiful, highly elevated, healthy situation. This island is the 
property of the state. 'I ne above work beint; done the lake vessels and canal 
boats may pass all around it. A bridge thrown over to the island, and the 
future city of Erie, laid out there, the sum raised from the sale of lots in one 
year would defray all the expense of the mound, lock and bridge. The re- 
mainder of the island would be vastly enhanced in value, and the mill privileges 
near the lock would be worth half the cost of the mound." 

This plan, which was by no means chimerical, was ridiculed, as was to be 
expected, by II. A. Salisbury in his Niagara Patriot; and no doubt by all other 
residents of Buffalo, zealously loyal to their own local interests. 


an act was passed, April 17th, 1819, authorizing a loan to 
the above-mentioned persons and their associates, of $12,000, 
for 12 years, to be secured on bond and mortgage to double 
that amount, and applied to the construction of a harbor, 
which the State had reserved the right to take when com- 
pleted, and to cancel the securities. 

The year 18 19 was one of general financial embarrass- 
ment, and nowhere was the pressure or want of money more 
sensibly felt than in the lake country. It had no market, and 
its produce was of little value. Some of the associates be- 
came embarrassed and others discouraged. The summer 
passed away, and finally all refused to execute the required 
securities, except Judge Townsend and Judge Forward. 
Thus matters stood in December, 18 19. Unless the condi- 
tion of the loan should be complied with, the appropriation 
would be lost, and another might not easily be obtained ; for 
the project of a harbor at Black Rock, and the termination 
of the canal at that place, were advocated by influential men, 
and the practicability of making a harbor at the mouth of 
Buffalo Creek was seriously questioned. 

At this crisis judge YYilkeson, who had declined being 
on the original company, came forward, and with Messrs. 
Townsend and Forward, agreed to make the necessary 
security. This was perfected during the winter of 1820 — 
each individual giving his several bond and mortgage for 
$8,000. The money thus loaned was received in the spring. 
By an arrangement between the parties, it was to be dis- 
bursed by Judge Townsend. An experienced harbor-builder 
was to be obtained to superintend the work. One was en- 
gaged who had acquired reputation in improving the navi- 
gation of some river down East. Fie was to receive $50 per 
month. Under his advice a contract was made for 100 cords 
of Mint stone from the Plains, at $5 per cord, and 400 hem- 
lock piles, from 20 to 26 feet long, at 31 cents each. While 
the stone and piles were being delivered, the superintendent, 
with several carpenters, was employed in building a pile- 
driving machine and scow. An agent was dispatched to the 
nearest furnace (which was in Portage County, Ohio), to 
provide the hammer and machinery. 


Mr. Townsend with much solicitude continued to watch 
the movements of the superintendent for a few weeks. 
making himself fully acquainted with his plans and manage- 
ment. He became satisfied that the superintendent, if not 
incompetent, was not such an economist as our limited means 
required, and that if we retained him, the money would be 
spent without getting a harbor. The Judge was decided, 
that it was better to abandon the work than to pursue it 
under the then existing arrangements. His associates con- 
curring, the superintendent was discharged — but no substi- 
tute could be obtained. West Point engineers were scarce 
at that time, and if one could have been found. Si 2,000 
would have been but a small sum in his hands. The situa- 
tion of the company was embarrassing. Private property 
had been mortgaged to raise the money — nearly $1,000 of it 
had been spent, in preparations to commence a work that 
neither of the associates knew how to execute, nor could any 
one be found, experienced in managing men, who would un- 
dertake the superintendence. Mr. Townsend was an invalid 
and consequently unable to perform the duty. Mr. Forward 
was wanting in the practical experience that was necessary. 

Mr. YYilkeson had never seen a harbor, and was engaged 
in business that required his unremitted attention. But 
rather than the effort should be abandoned, he finally con- 
sented to undertake the superinten deuce, and proceeded im- 
mediately to mark out a spot for the erection of a shanty on 
the beach, between the creek and the lake; hired a few la- 
borers, gave the necessary orders for lumber, cooking uten- 
sils and provisions. The boarding-house and sleeping-room 
were completed that same day. 

The First Season's Work. 

Having abandoned his own private business, Mr. YYilke- 
son called his men out to work the next morning' bv dav- 


light — without suitable tools, without boats, teams or scows. 
Neither the plan of the work uor its precise location were 
settled. But the harbor was commenced. ::: 

Two plans had been proposed for the work : one by 
driving parallel lines of piles, and filling up the intermediate 
space with brush and stone ; and the other by a pier of hewn 
timber, filled with stone. The latter plan was adopted, and 
the location of the pier having been settled, the number of 
laborers was increased, and contracts immediately made for 
suitable timber and stone, to be delivered as fast as they 
might be required. In the meantime the timber intended for 
piles, was used in the construction of cribs, three of which 
were put down the first day. 

The first two days after commencing the work, the lake 
was calm ; but the succeeding night a heavy swell set in, 
and the waves acting on the outside of the cribs forced the 
sand and gravel from under them, sinking the ends of some, 
the sides of others and throwing them out of line, the whole 
presenting the most discouraging appearance. Fortunately 
a little brush had been accidentally thrown on the windward 
side of one of the piers, which became covered with sand, 
and preserved this pier from the fate of others. Profiting 
by this discovery, every crib subsequently put down was 
placed on a thick bed of brush, extending several feet to the 
windward of it. 

But other unforeseen difficulties were soon experienced. 
The cribs could be put down only when the lake was per- 
fectly smooth. However fine the weather, the swell raised 
by an ordinary sailing breeze suspended the work in the 
water. To obviate this difficulty, the cribs (which after the 
first week were formed of large square timber), were put up 
and completed on shore. The timbers were secured by ties 
six feet apart, made to fit so tight as to require to be driven 

* The exact date is not stated. Judge Wilkeson's narrative shows it to have 
been some time prior to May 20th, iSeo. The earliest step towards opening the 
mouth of Buffalo Creek appears to have been a meeting held at Pomeroy's 
tavern, Nov. 15. 1S16, but no immediate work seems to have been done. Until 
Judge Wilkeson and his associates opened the channel, sailing vessels, unless of 
very light draft, had to lie half a mile or more off the port, or drop down 
below the lilack Rock rapids to find anchorage. 


home with a sledge, and were bored witli a two-inch auger 
read\' for the trunnels, which were two feet long-, and made 
of the best oak or hickory. The timbers were marked and 
numbered, so that when required for use, they could be 
taken apart, Heated out to their place, and put together in an 
hour, even in ten feet of water, and secured with stone the 
same day. 

The manner of constructing the pier is thus particularly 
described, as it so effectually secured the timbers together, 
that when the west end of the pier was undermined by the 
high winds of the creek and turned over, so that the side be- 
came the top, not a stick was separated. After the preva- 
lence of a west wind for several days, the water became 
smooth, but it rained severely and the workmen justly 
claimed exemption from labor. To be interrupted by swells 
in fair weather, and by the rain when the lake was smooth, 
would never answer. Every day's experience admonished 
the company of the necessity of economizing their means, 
and it was already feared that the funds provided would 
prove insufficient for the object to be accomplished. A new 
contract was, therefore, made with the workmen, by which 
their wages were raised $2 a month, in consideration of their 
working in rainy days ; and from that time until the harbor 
was completed, the work was prosecuted without regard to 
the weather. This arrangement however, did not much in- 
crease the exposure either of the men engaged on the work 
or of those employed in delivering stone, which was prin- 
cipally obtained on the reefs under water. In loading the 
scows with brush on the beach of the lake, and in moving 
timbers from the beach to the pier, the men were forced to 
be in the water, in order to perform their work in the least 
possible time. 

Neither clerk nor other assistant, not even a carpenter 
to lay out the work, was employed for the first two months, 
to aid the superintendent ; who besides directing all the 
labor, making contracts, receiving materials, etc., labored in 
the water with the men, as much exposed as themselves, and 
conformed to the. rules prescribed to them of commencing 
work at daylight, and continuing until dark, allowing half 


an hour for breakfast, and an hour for dinner. Besides the 
labors of the day, he was often detained until late at night 
waiting the arrival of boats, to measure their loads of stone, 
and to see them delivered in the pier, as without this vigil- 
ance some of the boatmen would unload their stone into the 
lake, which was easier than to deposit it in the pier. 

After the pier was extended about 30 rods into the lake, 
and settled as well as the limited time would allow, a car- 
penter was employed at $1 per day to superintend the raising 
of the pier, from the surface of the water to its full height. 
This was done by securing the timber in the manner already 
described. As the work advanced into deep water, the bases 
of the cribs were enlarged, and the cost of the work alarm- 
ingly increased. It was resolved to suspend operations for 
that year, on reaching seven and a half feet of water. 

On the 7th of September, after the timber work was 
completed, and while the pier was but partially filled with 
stone, two small vessels came under its lee, and made fast. 
Towards evening, appearances indicated a storm, and while 
the superintendent and captains were deliberating whether 
the vessels might not endanger the pier, and perhaps carry 
away that part to which they were fastened, the gale com- 
menced, rendering it impossible to remove the vessels other- 
wise than by casting them loose, and letting them go on the 
beach. This was proposed by the superintendent, and agreed 
to by the captains, on condition that the safety of the pier 
should appear to be endangered by the vessels. Both the 
pier and the vessels, however, remained uninjured through 
the storm, which was regarded as no mean test of the utility 
and permanency of the works. The pier, which at this time 
extended 50 rods into the lake, was in a few days filled with 
stone, and the operations upon it suspended for the season. 

It may not be out of place here to name the captains of 
the two first vessels which found shelter in Buffalo harbor: 
Austin and Fox. The former was an old Point Judith fish- 
erman, who after spending most of his life on the ocean, 
removed to the Vermilion River and settled on a farm ; but 
yielding to his yearning for the water, he built a small vessel, 
of which he was captain, and his sons the crew, and engaged 


in the lake trade. He was a shrewd, observing man, had 
seen and examined many artificial harbors, and his advice 
contributed much to the correel location and permanent con- 
struction of Buffalo harbor. Fox, long known a- a success- 
ful captain on the lakes, took a deep interest in the construc- 
tion of the work, and during the three years thai it was in 
progress, frequently aided by volunteering his own labor 
and that of his erews. Trifling as this circumstance may ap- 
pear, it gave at the time no small encouragement, and has 
been gratefully remembered. 

Progress — and Catastrophe. 

Although the pier had been successfully extended 90a 
feet, and was believed to be sufficiently strong to resist the 
force of the waves, still it was but an experiment. The situa- 
tion was the most exposed on the lake, and no similar work 
had been constructed. Should the whole, or any consider- 
able part of the work be destroyed by the gales of wind, or 
by ice, the fund remaining would be insufficient to repair the 
damage, and extend the work to the requisite distance to 
make a harbor. Should the experiment on the pier prove 
never so successful, a most difficult part of die plan for 
forming a harbor was yet to be executed, and the more dif- 
ficult because the expense would depend on contingencies 
which the company could not control. 

Buffalo Creek, in 1820, entered the lake about 60 rods 
north of its present mouth, running for some distance nearly 
parallel with the shore. A new channel had to be made 
across the point of sand, which separates the creek from the 
lake. This point was about jo rods wide, and elevated about 
seven feet above the lake. It was proposed to remove the 
sand by scrapers to the level of low water, dam the mouth 
of the creek bv brush and -tone, and trust to the action of a 


spring flood to form a straight channel in a line with, and 
near to, the pier. The scraping was commenced in Novem- 
ber, by the voluntary labor of several of the citizens; hut 
instead of finding- the point composed of hue sand, as had 
been expected, when a few feet of the top was removed, a 
heavy compact body of coarse gravel and small stones was 
found, which, if removed by the current of the creek, in- 
stead of being carried into deep water in the lake, would be 
deposited to the leeward of the pier, in the place our channel 
must be, and whence there was neither money nor machinery 
to remove it. The scraping was therefore given up, and the 
subject of forming a new channel, proving a very serious 
one, laid over for further consideration, in the expectation 
that some plan could be devised to overcome the seemingly 
insurmountable difficulty. 

The company had the satisfaction to see the fall gales 
pass away without doing any damage to the pier, not even 
removing a single timber, and it was loaded with so great a 
body of ice, that no apprehension was entertained of damage 
from the breaking up of the lake in the spring. Favorable 
contracts were made during the winter for square timber, 
and ties to complete the pier ; and as it was sufficiently ex- 
tended to protect the pile-driving scow, and as the use of this 
machine would be important in farther prosecuting the work, 
it was determined to finish it. A hammer and gearing, how- 
ever, were wanting. These had been contracted for in Ohio, 
but, owing to a misunderstanding, had not been received. 
The iron gearing could be dispensed with, and a good sub- 
stitute for a hammer was found in a United States mortar, 
used during the last war, but which had lost one of its 
trunnions. After breaking off the other, two holes were 
bored through the end for the staple by which to hoist it. 
The ends of the staple projecting into the chamber were 
bent, and the chamber itself filled with metal. Similar holes 
were bored on each side, and two bars of iron between two 
and three inches square firmly secured to act as guides. The 
hollow part being tilled with a hard piece of wood, cut off 
even with the end, it proved to he an excellent hammer of 
about 2,000 pounds weight. The machinery to raise the 


hammer was of the cheapest and simplest kind, and worked 
by a single horse.* 

Before attempting the further extension of the pier, it 
was resolved to attempt the formation of the new channel. 
About the 20th of May, laborers were engaged, and the pile- 
driver put in operation. Two rows of piles six feet apart 
were driven across the creek, in a line with the right bank 
of the intended channel, and the space between these rows of 
piles was filled with fine brush, straw, damaged hay, shav- 
ings, etc. This material was pressed down by drift logs, 
which were hoisted into their places by the use of the pile- 
driver. On the upper side of the work, a body of sand was 
placed, making a cheap and tolerably tight dam, by which 
the creek could be raised about three feet. Then by breaking 
the bank at the west end of the dam, a current was formed 
sufficiently strong to remove about 15 feet of the adjoining 
bank to the depth of eight feet. The success of the first ex- 
periment was most gratifying. The dam was extended 
across the new-made channel, and connected with the bank, 
with the least possible delay, and every dam full of water let 
off removed hundreds of yards of gravel, and deposited it 
not only entirely out of the way, but at the same time filled 
up the old channel. 

While this plan was in successful operation, and when 
the new channel had been pushed to within a few feet of the 
lake, and the strongest hopes were entertained, that by the 
same process the sand and gravel even under the shoal water 
of the lake could be removed, and the channel extended to 
the end of the pier, and the harbor rendered immediately 
available, the work was arrested by one of the most extraor- 
dinary rises of the lake perhaps ever witnessed. About 
seven o'clock in the morning, the lake being entirely calm, 
the water suddenly rose, and by a single swell swept away 
the logs that secured the materials in the dam, broke away 

* This old mortar, which for many years stood in the sidewalk at the corner 
of Main and Dayton streets, was long owned by A. P. Yaw, and later by George 
R. Potter, from whose family it passed into the custody of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society, which placed it, suitably inscribed, in Lafayette Square, facing 
the Public Library, where it may now he seen, one of the city's most interesting 


the dam on the cast side, wholly destroyed the west end 
which was made of plank, and left the whole a total wreck. 

A more discouraging scene can scarcely be imagined. 
The pile-driving scow, without which the damage could not 
be repaired, narrowly escaped destruction. The blind horse 
which worked the pile-driver, was thrown from his platform 
on the scow, and swimming in his accustomed circle, came 
near drowning. All the lumber, timber, piles prepared for 
use, with the boats, scows, and every floating article within 
the range of the swell, were swept from their places and 
driven up the creek. It was afterwards ascertained that an 
extraordinary vein of wind had crossed the lake a few miles 
above this place, and proceeding eastward, prostrated the 
timber in its course, and marked its way with fearful de- 
struction. This was supposed to have caused the swell re- 
ferred to. 

Nature helps make a Xew Channel. 

After securing the scows, boats and lumber which had 
been put afloat, the condition of the dam was examined. 
About 30 feet of the east end was entirely gone, and the in- 
jury to other parts was greater than was at first anticipated. 
Before the examination was completed a northeast wind 
commenced blowing, accompanied by a heavy rain, and ap- 
pearances indicated its continuance. Although a flood had 
been wished for, to aid in deepening and widening the new 
channel, yet the disastrous accident which had just occurred. 
destroyed the only means of controling it, "and turning it to 
account. A freshet then, might open the old channel, or 
perhaps enlarge the new one in a wrong direction, and even 
undermine the pier. It was, therefore, resolved to repair 
the damag'c if possible. The pile-driver was put in operation 
-to restore the breach at the east end of the dam. and the men 
set to work to collect materials ; but the rain increasing, 
and the weather being uncommonly cold, it was soon dis- 


covered that without a large additional force the dam could 
not be so far repaired as to resist the flood, which might be 
expected within 24 hours. The recent disaster and the im- 
portance of immediate help was communicated to the citi- 
zens, a large number of whom, notwithstanding the rain fell 
in torrents, repaired to the dam. They were distributed in 
parties, some getting brush, others collecting logs, some 
placing the materials in the dam, while others aided in work- 
ing the pile-driver. Their labor was continued during the 
day except a few minutes' relaxation for dinner, which con- 
sisted of bread and beer, and was taken standing in the rain. 
Without this help of the citizens, it would have been im- 
possible to make the necessary repairs on the dam ; with it 
and by continuing the labor of the harbor workmen by torch- 
light until late at night, all was done that human effort could 
do to prepare for the flood. The men retired to rest, after 
having been exposed to the rain, cold and water, for more 
than 12 hours. Besides securing the dam, a few piles had 
been driven in the lake across the line of the proposed 
channel in about five feet of water, against which several 
large sycamore logs were secured by chains, and loaded with 
stone. This was done with the view of protecting the pier, 
and turning the current, and with it the sand and gravel, 
down the lake out of the way of the harbor. 

The rain having continued through the night, in the 
morning the flood was magnificent. The strong northeast 
wind which had prevailed for nearly 2\ hours had lowered 
the lake two or three feet, and added much to the effect of 
the water in forming a new channel. The barrier erected 
had produced the desired effect ; the gravel removed out of 
the new channel was carried down the lake, and in fact the 
whole operation was so favorable, that it seemed as though 
Providence had directed this Mood in aid of the great work- 
in forming a harbor. The breaking up of the dam had dis- 
heartened the men, and- their extraordinary efforts to repair 
the damage had exhausted them ; but a day's rest, and wit- 
nessing the triumphant success of the plan for opening a 
channel restored them to cheerfulness. The doubts and 
fears" that were entertained of ultimate success in making" a 


harbor, were dissipated. When the freshet had subsided, it 
was found that the average width of the new channel was 
about 90 feet at the bottom, and for the tirst 12 rods it was 
as deep as the creek, and nowhere less than five feet, fur- 
nishing a straight channel. The quantity of sand and gravel 
that had been removed by the agency of the water in 24 
hours, was nearly or quite 20,000 yards, to remove which by 
artificial means would have required a greater amount of 
money than all the harbor fund. 

From this time, small vessels could enter and depart 
from Buffalo harbor without interruption, and the entry of 
two or three small vessels in a day, excited more interest 
then, than the arrival of a hundred large vessels and boats 
would now. 

Much yet remained to be done. The lines of piles in ex- 
tension of a dam were continued, and filled up with brush 
and stone, intended to form a permanent margin for the 
north bank of Buffalo Creek. This work was extended 46 
rods from the east bank of the creek, the dam was strength- 
ened, the number of men increased, and the preparations 
made for recommencing the pier. On a careful examination 
and measurement of the water, it was found that the pier, 
if extended in the direction of that already built, would re- 
quire to be carried much further than had been anticipated. 
The calculation of the company as to the length of the pier, 
had been predicated on the survey of Mr. Peacock, and the 
fact was not known to them, that the water had fallen after 
the time that survey was made. This discovery was the 
more embarrassing, as the company had become satisfied 
that they would be unable with the fund provided, to com- 
plete the pier, even to the extent at first contemplated, and it 
had been resolved to apply to the citizens for aid, which was 
subsequently done. Scrip wars issued, entitling the bearer 
to a pro rata interest in the harbor. Over $1,000 of this 
scrip was disposed of, for a small part of which cash was 
received, but the greater part was received in goods, etc. 
However small this sum may appear at this day, it was then 
deemed very liberal, and it gave Judge Townsend, who 


negotiated this matter, no little trouble to raise even that 

For the sums thus advanced, no consideration was ever 
received- by the holders of this scrip, and perhaps some of 
them, to whom no explanation has been made, may have 
felt themselves aggrieved. For the satisfaction of such, it 
may be well here to state how this business was closed. The 
act of the Legislature creating the Buffalo Harbor Company, 
and making the loan, provided that if the Legislature did 
not accept the harbor, it should be, and remain, the property 
of the company, and that the Canal Commissioners should 
settle the rate of tolls to be paid by all boats and vessels en- 
tering it. The issue of the scrip was predicated on this pro- 
vision ; and it was believed that if the state accepted the 
harbor, they would willingly pay the extra cost of its con- 
struction, over and above the loan of the $12,000 *( which 
was to be cancelled). This no doubt would have been done 
but for the provision of a law passed in the spring of 1822, 
entitled "An act for encouraging the construction of harbors 
at Buffalo and Black Rock." This act provided to pay the 
two harbor companies, Buffalo and Black Rock, each $12,000 
on completing their harbors, thus limiting the sum to the 
amount already loaned to the Buffalo Harbor Company, and 
cutting off all hope of remuneration from the state, for -any 
amount that might be expended beyond that sum. 

The object to be attained by this singular law, is con- 
nected with the history of another subject, which may yet 
be given to the public, and which will disclose the reason 
why the Canal Commissioners declined to accept the harbor 
for the state. The company could not retain the harbor 
as private property, and impose tolls on vessels entering 
it, without driving the business to a rival port. Applica- 
tion was, therefore, made in the spring of 1825 to the Legis- 
lature, which passed a resolution to cancel the bonds and 
mortgages given to secure the loan, but refused to allow the 
claim for the additional sum expended ; which sum included 
not only the money received for the scrip, but several. hun- 
dred dollars advanced by Townsend. Forward and Wilke- 
son, besides contributions bv other individuals. 


The First Lake Harbor — Two Characters. 

After ascertaining the distance to which it would be 
necessary to extend the pier, and estimating the cost of com- 
pleting it, the continuous line was abandoned, and it was re- 
solved to lay down a pier 200 feet long, several rods south 
and west of the pier already built, but in the same direction. 
This pier would form the western termination of the harbor, 
and was to be connected with the other by two lines of piles 
eight feet apart. As these lines of piles would be at right 
angles with the course of the waves, it was believed the 
work would be sufficiently permanent, and would furnish a 
good and cheap substitute for a pier. Both pile-driving and 
pier work were commenced, and prosecuted with a vigor 
and economy suited to the scanty funds of the company. 

It was found much more difficult to erect piers in to or 
12 feet of water, than in the more shallow water in which 
they were put down the preceding year. In attempting to put 
down the first crib which was to form the eastern end of the 
block, in about 10 feet of water, the current was found so 
strong that it was impossible to keep the brush in line on 
which to place the crib. To obviate this difficult}", piles were 
driven to feet apart on the north line of the proposed pier. 
This not only secured the brush, but served as a guide in 
putting down the cribs, which for this block were 40 feet 
long, 20 feet wide at the bottom, and t8 at the surface of 
the water. In addition to the plan adopted for strengthening 
the cribs the preceding year, braces of oak timber, three by 
six inches, and extending from the bottom to the top of the 
crib, were let into the timbers composing the windward side 
of each crib, and secured by spikes, as the crib was put 
down. The quantity of brush was also increased. Two 
large scow loads were used as a bed for each crib. These, 
besides securing the crib from being undermined, aided by 
their elasticity in resisting the force of the swells. 

A slight rise in the creek about the middle of July, en- 
couraged a hope that by a temporary contraction of the 


channel, it might be deepened. About 50 of the citizens 
volunteered their aid for a day. and a foot of additional 
depth was gained. 

One difficulty attending the pier work was that of pro- 
curing a supply of stone. About 20 cords were required 
for each crib, but little of which could be put in until the 
crib was all put together, and this quantity could not always 
be obtained at the time it was wanted. The loose stone 
easily raised from the reefs near the harbor, had already 
been used, and now stone had to be brought from the 
Canada shore. Boats were scarce, the price paid for stone 
was so low (only about $3 per cord), and the quantity re- 
quired so small, that there was no encouragement to build 
suitable boats, and those used were the frailest kind, and 
liable every day to fail. 

The pile work proved to be a tedious and difficult job. 
An average of 100 strokes of the hammer were required for 
each pile. The interruption from the swells made it neces- 
sary to work at night during calm weather. The pile work 
was at length completed, but when secured in the best 
manner that could be devised, was a very imperfect barrier 
to the swell, and a very poor substitute for a pier. The 
swells during gales of wind had removed some of the stones 
out of the first pier ; these were recovered, the pier rilled up, 
and covered by ties six inches apart let into the top timbers, 
and secured by trunnels. The outer pier was also rilled with 
some stone and covered in the same way, and 50 cords of 
stone were deposited on the windward side for its greater 

Thus was completed the first work of the kind ever con- 
structed on the lakes. It had occupied 221 working days in 
building (the laborers always resting on the Sabbath), and 
extended into the lake about 80 rods to 12 feet of water. It 
was begun, carried on and completed principally by three 
private individuals, some of whom mortgaged the whole of 
their real estate to raise the means for making an improve- 
ment in which they had but a common interest. And now, 
although but 20 years have elapsed, these sacrifices and ef- 
forts, and even the fact that such a work ever existed, are 


unknown to most of the citizens of Buffalo, who have only 
seen the magnificent stone pier erected at a cost of over 
$200,000. But should the names of those who projected and 
constructed the first pier be remembered, for a few years, 
yet the subordinate actors by whose faithful labors the 
drudgery of this work was accomplished, must remain un- 
known even to those who enjoy the immediate fruits of their 
labor in wealth and luxury. Their names would be inserted 
here, but that the time-book being- kept with pencil, and 
having been frequently wet, has become in part illegible. 
Simon and Clark Burdock and Charles Ayres, deserve 
special notice, and should either of these men. or any of the 
others engaged on the work, wish to take passage on the 
lake, it is hoped that any steamboat captain hailing from 
Buffalo, would give them a free passage. There is a debt 
of gratitude due to the laborers on Buffalo harbor for their 
extraordinary faithfulness. They were all farmers, or sons 
of farmers from the adjoining country, whose necessity for 
money brought them from their homes. Some of them en- 
gaged at the commencement of the work, and were never 
absent from it a day until it was finished : and such were 
their steady habits, that but one case of intoxication oc- 
curred, and not a single instance in which a jar or misunder- 
standing proceeded to blows. The laborers either indi- 
vidually or as a company never shrunk from exposure, nor 
hesitated to turn out at night when required, and their work- 
was performed with such faithfulness that not a single tim- 
ber was lost from the pier. 

The company were equally fortunate in their boatmen. 
The two stone contractors contributed much to the success- 
ful prosecution and completion of the harbor, often running 
their boats at night when stone was required ; and in more 
than one instance, their extraordinary exertions preserved 
portions of the work from destruction, and saved the com- 
pany from great loss. Sloan and Olmstead were the names 
of these hard-weather men — and those only who have ex- 
perienced the difficulties of making improvements in a new 
country, with means and facilities wholly inadequate to the 


object to he accomplished, can justly appreciate the worth 
of such men. 

James Sloan was first known as a salt boatman on Niag- 
ara River in 1807 or '8* ; was a hand on board the boat Inde- 
pendence, and had only left her the day before she, with all 
on board, was carried over the Xiagara falls.t He was a lake 
boatman until some time after the commencement of the 
war. He volunteered in various hazardous expeditions; 
was one of the party who cut out the brig Adams at Fort 
Erie. He commanded the ammunition boat during the siege 
of that fort, and had several marvelous escapes from shot 
and rockets. After the war he removed to the West, but 
returned shortly before the commencement of the Buffalo 
harbor, and took as deep interest in the progress of the work 
as if it had been his own private business. He has been rich 
and poor several times, and has endured more fatigue and 
performed more labor than most men of his age. Few per- 
sons know so much of men and things generally as he does. 
and no one is more liberal, benevolent and honest. 

X. K. Olmstead, though quite a different character from 
Sloan, was a man of unusual muscular power and remark- 
able courage and resolution. He was a citizen of Buffalo 
before the war. His property had been burnt by the British, 
and when peace was concluded between the two Govern- 
ments, not considering himself a party to the treaty, he de- 
termined to make reprisals. In pursuance of this determina- 
tion, he soon managed to get a contract to transport, from 
Chippewa to Fort Erie, British army stores, among which 
were several kegs of specie. Fie brought his load to the 
American side of the river, and hid the goods and money, 
waiting a favorable opportunity to remove them. The boat- 
men stole a part, and the vigilance of the officers who made 
pursuit recovered most of the balance. Olmstead retired 
from the frontier for a time, but in 1819 returned to Buffalo. 
When the harbor was commenced, he ensured as a stone- 

* Certainly nut prior to 1808, and apparently not before 1810. See Capt. 
Sloan's own reminiscences, in this volume. 

t In-i8io. In crossing to Chippewa with a load of salt, she filled and sunk, 
her captain and two of the crew being carried over the falls. A third man 
clung to an oar and was rescued by a small boat from Chippewa. 


boatman, and in the varied and severe labor required upon 
the work, perhaps no man in the country could have equaled 
him. After stones became searee upon the reef, all the 
other boats resorted to the Canada shore, where they were 

Olmstead soon ventured to go over. The first few trips 
he carried a loaded pistol and a fish spear, but not being 
molested his apprehensions ceased, lie was admonished not 
to risk himself, but he continued his trips, and perhaps 
would not have been noticed but for his resisting a demand 
made by the deputy collector for a clearance fee of 50 cents 
each load. Soon afterwards he was seized and hurried on 
board a large boat, which immediately put out for Chip- 
pewa. It was not deemed necessary to confine him. There 
was a small skirt in tow with a paddle in it. Olmstead re- 
solved to possess himself of it, and make for the American 
shore, resolved to risk going- over the falls rather than re- 
main a prisoner. When taken he had concealed his jack- 
knife in his shoe, which he got ready for use, and when the 
boat was near Chippewa sprang on board the skiff, cut the 
fast, and pushed his skirl into the current. Using his paddle, 
he directed his course to the American shore. By extra- 
ordinary efforts he made one of the Grass islands, where he 
rested, got out of the skiff and towed it up the river as fast 
as he could wade, expecting that a boat would put out from 
the American side for his relief ; but none appearing, and 
discovering one putting out from the Chippewa side in pur- 
suit, he took to his skiff, and succeeded in landing in Porter's 
mill-race, at the falls. The next morning he resumed his 
work upon the harbor, to the no small gratification of the 
workmen, with all of whum he was a srreat favorite. 


Another Crisi: 

The pier was completed, and the creek carried by a new 
and straight, although shallow, channel into the lake. The 


fact that the pier built in 1820 had endured the storms of one 
winter uninjured, encouraged the company to believe that 
the outer pier, although more exposed, would, by being 
better secured, prove strong enough to resist the swells, and 
in future protect the channel from the moving sands which 
had yearly barred it up. 

It was expected that the spring freshet would so widen 
and deepen the channel as to permit the lake vessels and even 
the Walk-in-the- Water (the only steamboat on the lake), to 
enter safely. This boat had been built at Black Rock, and 
run to that place, not ever touching at Buffalo : and the very 
prospect of having a steamboat arrive and depart from Buf- 
falo, was highly encouraging. But while anticipating these 
benefits, the Walk-in-the-Water was driven on shore a short 
distance above Buffalo, while on her last trip, in 182 1, and 
bilged. The engine, boilers and furniture were saved, and 
there was no doubt that the steamboat company would build 
a new boat, as they had purchased from Fulton's heirs the 
right to navigate by steam that portion of Lake Erie lying 
within the state, which right was then deemed valid. The 
citizens of Buffalo, without loss of time, addressed the di- 
rectors of the company, presenting the advantages that 
would accrue to them by building their boat at Buffalo. The 
company, immediately on learning of their loss, made a con- 
tract with Xoah Brown & Brothers, of New York, to build 
a boat at Buffalo, if it could be constructed as cheaply there 
as at the Rock, and if there could be certainty of getting the 
boat out of the creek. 

Brown came on early in January, passing on to Black 
Rock without even reporting himself in Buffalo, nor was 
his arrival known here until he had agreed to build his boat 
at the Rock, and engaged the ship-carpenters of that place 
to furnish the timber. The Black Rock contractors, gratified 
with their success, agreed to accommodate Brown by meet- 
ing him at the Mansion House in Buffalo in the evening to 
execute the contract, which was to be drawn by an attorney 
in Buffalo, an acquaintance of Brown's. The gentlemen 
with their securities were punctual in their attendance. 

As soon as it was known in Buffalo that the boat was 


to be built at the Rock, the citizens assembled in the liar- 
room of the Mansion House, and after spending a few 
minutes in giving vent to their indignation, it was resolved 
to have an immediate interview with Brown (who was in 
his parlor), and know why Buffalo had been thus slighted. 
Perhaps he might yet he induced to change his mind, if the 
contract were not already signed. 

The landlord undertook to ascertain this tact and re- 
ported that it was not yet executed. A delegate to wait on 
Brown was chosen with little ceremony — there was no time 
to give specific instructions. "Get the boat built here, and 
we will he bound by your agreement." The delegate had 
never seen Brown, and on entering his parlor, had to intro- 
duce himself. This done he proceeded : 

"Mr. Brown, why do you not build your boat at Buffalo, 
pursuant to the wishes of the company?" 

"Why, sir, I arrived in your village while your people 
were sleeping', and being obliged to limit my stay here to one 
day, I thought to improve the earl}- part of the morning by 
commencing my inquiries at Black Rock, and consulting the 
ship-carpenters residing there, who had aided in building the 
Walk-in-the-Water. While there T was told that your har- 
bor is alt a humbug, and that if I were to build the boat in 
Buffalo Creek, she could not be got into the lake in the 
spring, and perhaps never. Besides, the carpenters refused 
to deliver the timber at Buffalo. Considering the question 
of where the boat should be built as settled, 1 proceeded to 
contract for timber to be delivered, and shall commence 
building the beat immediately at the Rock." 

"Mr. Brown, our neighbors have done us great injury, 
although the>'. no doubt, honestly believe what they have 
said to you about our harbor. Under the circumstances, I 
feel justified in making you a proposition, which will enable 
you to comply with the wishes of the steamboat company, 
and do justice to Buffalo, without exposing yourself to loss 
or blame. The citizens of Buffalo will deliver suitable tim- 
ber at a-quarter less than it will cost you at the Rock, and 
execute a judgment bond to pay to the steamboat company 


$150 for every day's detention of the boat in the creek after 
the first of May." 

"I accept the proposition. When will the papers be made 

out ?" 

"To-morrow morning. And if yon wish it, a satisfactory 
sum of money shall now be placed in your hands, to be for- 
feited if the contract and bond are not executed." 

"This, sir, I do riot require. I shall leave at 10 o'clock 
this evening, and my friend Moulton will prepare the neces- 
sary papers and see them executed." 

The judgment bond was signed by nearly all the re- 
sponsible citizens, and the contract for the timber taken by 
Wm. A. Carpenter, at the reduced price agreed on. To 
comply with this contract both as to time and the quality of 
timber, required no little energy and good management, but 
the contractor executed it to the satisfaction of all concerned. 

Buffalo having completed a harbor, and established a 
ship-yard, began to assume new life. Brighter prospects 
opened, and it only remained to secure the termination of 
the canal at this place, of which there was a fair prospect. 
David Thomas, an engineer, in the employ of the Canal 
Board, had been occupied the preceding summer in making- 
surveys preparatory to a location of the canal from the lake 
to the mountain ridge. He had spent some time in examin- 
ing the Niagara River, and Buffalo Creek and harbor. He 
was known to be opposed to the plan of terminating the 
canal in an artificial basin at the Rock, and it was presumed 
that he would report decidedly in favor of terminating the 
canal in Buffalo Creek. This encouraged the citizens to 
send an agent to Albany to represent to the president of the 
Canal Board, DeWitt Clinton, the fact that a harbor had 
been completed, and to urge the immediate extension of the 
canal to Buffalo. This subject was considered by the board, 
and the canal report of that year, 1823. contained their de- 
cision in favor of Buffalo. 

Although this decision was not unexpected, yet it oc- 
casioned great rejoicing to the citizens, who, burnt out and 
impoverished by the war, and disappointed in their just ex- 
pectations of remuneration from the Government, had for 


years been battling manfully with adversity, cheered on by 
hopes which were now about to be realized. 

While congratulating themselves on the prospect of still 
better times, the expected flood came, and removing a large 
body of sand and gravel, opened a wide and deep channel 
from the creek to the lake. But unfortunately a heavy bank 
of ice resting on the bottom of the lake, and rising several 
feet above its surface, had been formed during the winter, 
extending from the west end of the pier to the shore. This 
ice-bank arrested the current of the creek, forming an eddv 
alongside of the pier, into which the sand and gravel re- 
moved by the flood were deposited, filling up the channel for 
the distance of over 300 feet, and leaving a little more than 
three feet of water where, before the freshet, there was an 
average of four and a half feet. This disaster was more 
vexatious, as it might have been prevented 1)}' a few hours 
of well-directed labor in opening even a small passage 
through the bank of ice. It was attempted to open a chan- 
nel through the ice by blasting, but this proving ineffectual, 
no other means were tried, and it was now feared that the 
predictions of our Black Rock neighbors were about to be 

This obstruction of the harbor produced not only dis- 
couragement but consternation. A judgment bond had been 
executed, which was a lien upon a large portion of the real 
estate of the village for the payment of $150 per day, from 
and after the 1st of May, until the channel could be suf- 
ficiently opened to let the steamboat pass into the lake. The 
payment of this sum, which for the summer would amount 
to at least $24,000, could only be avoided by removing the 
deposit. To form a channel even eight rods wide and nine 
feet deep would require the removal of not less than 6,000 
yards of gravel, for which work there was neither an ex- 
cavator, nor time, skill or money to procure one. The 
superintendent of the harbor was absent. As soon as the 
news of the disaster reached him he hastened home, and 
arriving about the middle of March, a meeting oi the citi- 
zens concerned was called, It was resolved immediately to 
attempt the opening of the channel, and a subscription was 


proposed to defray the expense which was estimated at 
vSr,6oo. The subscription went heavily; only about $300 
were obtained. Although all were deeply interested, some 
believed that the duty of removing the obstruction devolved 
on the harbor company, others had no confidence in the plan 
of operations proposed, and with many who would cheer- 
fully have contributed, it was difficult to raise money. But 
without waiting- to see how the means was to be provided, 
preparations were made for commencing the work next 


Fruition — And an Excursion. 

About 25 laborers were immediately collected, the pile- 
driver prepared for use, and a line of piles driven, 200 feet 
from the pier, on the north side of that part of the channel 
which was obstructed. Two harbor-seows were made fast 
to these piles, and a platform of timber and plank extended 
over them. Four capstans were set up in these scows about 
20 feet apart, and each rising a sufficient distance above the 
platform to receive four bars, eight feet long. While this 
was in preparation, scrapers were formed of a single oak 
plank, eight feet long and 23 inches wide, the lower edge 
bevelled and faced with a thin bar of iron. They were fin- 
ished like the common scrapers used by the farmers in im- 
proving and smoothing the roads, with the addition of iron 
braces, and a rod of iron through the scraper near the lower 
edge, which passed through the pole or scantling by which 
it was drawn. On the upper end of the brace was a screw 
to regulate the scraper, which was loaded with iron to sink 
it, and connected by a strong rope with the windlass. A 
rope attached to the back part of the scraper, and extending 
to the pier, completed the simple machinery with which it 
was proposed to remove the gravel. Two men stationed on 
the pier could, by the small ropes, pull back the four scrapers 
as fast as they could be drawn home by the men at the four 
windlasses, each of which was worked bv four men at the 


levers, and one to handle the rope. The men could work 
dry, but the labor was excessively exhausting. The experi- 
ment succeeded admirably, and other capstans were pre- 
pared for use. The weather the hrst three days proved 
favorable, and the heavy unbroken body of ice which cov- 
ered the lake, prevented all interruptions from the waves. 
The progress made in removing the sand was most en- 
couraging, and there appeared no doubt that by increasing 
the scrapers the channel could be opened before the 1st of 
May. But to effect this the work must be continued every 
working day without regard to the weather. Piles were put 
down, and a raft of timber substituted for scows on which 
to erect more capstans. Saturday night came and the work- 
men were dismissed until Monday morning. During the 
night a heavy gale set in, and increased in violence until 
about noon on the Sabbath when the ice began to break up, 
and the lake to rise. Soon the ice was in motion, and driv- 
ing in from the lake, was carried up the creek with such 
force as to destroy the scows and all the fixtures. The pile- 
driver, being securely fastened by strong rigging to the 
piles, it was hoped would remain safe, but the fasts gave 
way, and it was driving towards shore where it could 
scarcely escape destruction. As the breaking up of the ice 
would make it impossible to work the capstan on rafts, put 
in motion by the swell to which they would be exposed, 
scaffolds raised out of the way of the water must be sub- 
stituted, and these could not possibly be built without piles. 
It was, therefore, all-important to save the pile-driver. It 
was saved by the extraordinary exertions of two individuals 
who (making their way to it by the aid of two boards each, 
which they pushed forward alternately over the floating ice 
agitated by the swells), succeeded in fastening it with a 
hawser to a pile near which it was floating. This was not 
done without imminent hazard to the men, who, several 
times losing their position. on the board, came^iear being 
crushed by the moving mass of ice. 

The scow being secured, the anxious and disheartened 
citizens and workmen retired to their homes. 

Any community less inured to disappointments and ad- 



versity would now have given up in despair. The very 
elements seemed to have conspired against them. The gale 
was frightful, and in the afternoon was accompanied by a 
heavy fall of snow ; the water was high, and ice driving 
with violence on to the flats. 

Monday morning the wind had subsided, but the weather 
was cold and still stormy. A general meeting of the citizens 
was convened, to whom the superintendent stated the extent 
of the damage, the probable time it would take to repair it, 
the amount of funds requisite to complete the work, and his 
entire confidence in ultimate success. He, however, refused 
to resume the work until sufficient funds were provided. As 
the liability to pay Si 50 a day would soon attach, the im- 
portance of a united and speedy effort was more sensibly 
felt. The meeting was fully attended, not only by those who 
were liable on the bond, but by many young mechanics and 
others. Dr.' Johnson, John G. Camp and Dr. Chapin, were 
chosen a committee to obtain and collect subscriptions. 

The following is a list of the names and sums subscribed: 

Ebenezer Johnson, in 
goods at cash price,. . . .$ 

Sylvester Mathews, in 

James Reed 

Elisha Williams, in labor 
or goods, by H. B. Pot- 










Moses Baker, in labor or 

blacksmith work $ 

John Root, 


Jabez Goodell, in labor, 
provisions, &c 

H. M. Campbell, in hats 
or labor 


Hart & Cunningham, in 

AVm. Mason, in beef, . . . 

Joseph Stocking, 

S. G. Austin 

G. & T. Weed, (including 
subscription a few clays 
since) donated, 




Sheldon Chapin, in goods, 
J. D. Hoyt. in boots and 


A. James, in goods 

P. G. Jenks 

O. Newberry 

R. B. Heacock & Co, 

horse $15, goods $35, . . 

Thomas Quigly, in labor, 

Timothv Pa§e, 

Ezekiel Folsom, in meat 
from the market 






Townsend & Coit 

H. B. Potter, cash $50, 
brick $25, 

Thomas More 

Martin Daley, in labor,.. 

A. Bryant, in goods and 


E. F. Norton, 




H. R. Seymour, $ 50.00 

Nathaniel Vosburgh, 111 

saddlery, 12.50 

F. B. Merrill, in labor, . . 25.00 

John E. Marshall, 25.00 

D. M. Day, 12.50 

Thomas C. Love, 
John G. Camp, 




and labor, 

William Ketchum, $20 
cash, $30 in hats, 

John A. Lazell, 

Lucius Gold, in labor, . . . 

Samuel A. Bigelow, in 
goods or labor, 25 .00 

Wm. Folsom. in labor. . . 25.00 

Selden Davis 5.00 

William Hodge, in labor 
or materials, 25.00 

Velorus Hodge, in work 

or materials, 5.00 

Benjamin Hodge, in lum- 
ber, 5.00 

William Long, a certain 
brown cow with a white 
head, to be appraised 
by commissioners of 
Harbor Association, . . 

Roswell Rosford. in prod- 
uce or provisions, .... 5.00 

W. W. Chapin. in team 

work $ 10.00 

Z. Piatt, 6.25 

E. Walden, in goods. . . . 100.00 

J. Guiteau, in labor or 

cash 12.50 

Cyrenius Chapin 100.00 

James Demarest, in sad- 
dlery, 5.00 

D. Henion, 100 lbs. of 
pork when called for,. . 

W. T. Miller, in fresh 
meat at market in Buf- 
falo village, 50.00 

Zachariah Grifrin, 10 bar- 
rels of lime to be de- 
livered in Buffalo, .... 6.25 

Alvin Dodge, in team 
work and manual labor, 10.00 

H. A. Salisbury, in prod- 
uce and hats, 12.50 

Hiram Pratt, in goods, . . 25.00 

Erastus Gilbert, in shoes 

and boots 25 .00 

Erastus Gilbert, bbl. of 
pork, 10.00 

Erastus Gilbert, cash, ... 2.50 
Oliver Coit, one crow-bar 

$3, cash $5, 8.00 

Joseph Dart, Jr., in hats, 10.00 

Benjamin Caryl, in pork, 25.00 

The subscriptions amounted to $1,361.25, exclusive of 
the cow and pork, the whole of which was paid except $110. 
The provisions and goods were paid to the workmen without 
loss, but on much of the other property ( which was sold at 
auction), there was an average loss of about ^JYi per cent. 

The means being secured to prosecute the work, the 
laborers were called together, and the afternoon of Monday 
was spent in collecting from the wreck, scrapers, capstans, 
rigging, etc.. and preparing to resume the work. The 
weather was as uncomfortable as it well could be. Indeed, 
from the commencement of the gale until the middle of 
April, there were but two days without snow or rain. 


Tuesday morning two rows of piles were put down, on 
which to erect platforms in place of scows and rafts, which 
had been destroyed. These platforms were raised several 
feet above the water to protect the workmen from the spray 
of the swells which broke against the piles. Six scrapers 
were got in motion during the day, and notwithstanding the 
laborers were exposed to a heavy rain, rapid progress was 
made in removing the sand. Although the heavy swells, 
which continued to roll in from the lake, rendered it dif- 
ficult to keep the empty scrapers in line, yet they carried the 
sand, removed from the channel, towards the shore, and 
prevented its accumulation. 

The necessity of improving all the time was such, that 
the laborers were required to breakfast in season to appear 
on the beach by sunrise ready to be carried out to the plat- 
forms. Cooked provisions were taken with them for dinner, 
which each man ate when he pleased, standing in the storm. 
They continued their work without returning to the shore 
until dark. The labor was so hard, and the exposure so 
great, that it was difficult to obtain the necessary help ; in- 
deed it would have been impossible but for the labor fur- 
nished by the citizens, many of whom sent their hired men 
for a day or more until their places could be supplied. 

The excavation commenced near the outer end of the 
pier, and progressed towards the shore, deepening the chan- 
nel to eight feet. By the 15th of April much more than half 
of the work was accomplished, and every doubt as to the 
practicability of completing it removed. 

The steamboat was rapidly advancing to completion. 
The builder ( who from the first had despaired of seeing the 
channel opened by the means resorted to) on examining the 
work and measuring the water in the yet obstructed part of 
the channel, pronounced the whole scraping process useless, 
and proposed that the channel of the creek should be con- 
fined by planks, extending from the shore into deep water, 
believing that the water thus confined would produce a cur- 
rent which would soon do what the scrapers could never do 
— open a good channel. These opinions and plans, com- 
municated to the citizens, created a feverish excitement. 


which the superintendent had no opportunity to allay, as he 
was confined to the work. 

The committee which had been charged with the duty of 
raising the fund for carrying on the work, deemed them- 
selves entitled to direct its expenditure. A majority of them 
(influenced by the boat-builder) insisted on the immediate* 
construction of the board fence (for such in fact it was), 
which he had suggested. Piles supplying the place of posts, 
and planks sharpened at one end and driven into the sand, 
the upper end spiked to a rail, were to form the whole of this 
proposed structure. And such was the confidence in its suc- 
cess, that it was with difficulty the committee could be pre- 
vailed on to let the scraping be continued. 

The board work was put down in two days, and proved, 
as was anticipated by the superintendent, to be totally use- 
less. A heavier swell than usual setting in, broke it up and 
removed it out of the way. The scraping then was relied 
on as the only hope of opening a passage for the boat, which 
would be ready in a few days to leave the creek. 

Although the weather became good the latter part of 
April, and the work was prosecuted with the utmost dili- 
gence, yet the ist of May came while there was still a few 
rods of the channel, in which only about six and a half feet 
of water had been gained. As considerable work yet re- 
mained to be done on the boat, and no loss or inconvenience 
could accrue to the owners in allowing a few days to deepen 
the channel, yet no time could be obtained. The boat was 
put in motion, and fortunately the pilot, Captain Miller, 
having made himself acquainted with what channel there 
was, ran her out into the lake without difficulty. The bond 
zcas cancelled! The boat was, however, light; and when 
fully loaded would require much more water. The scrap- 
ing was, therefore, continued. 

When the boat was finished, the citizens were invited to 
take an excursion on the lake. It was feared that if the boat 
should be deeply loaded with passengers, she would ground 
in the new-made channel. Although this would be a trifling 
occurrence in itself, yet circumstances had recently occurred 
which led them to regard the experiment with the deepest 


anxietv. An act had passed a few days before, authorizing 
the canal board to contract for the construction of a harbor 
at Black Rock, which if completed, might secure the termin- 
ation of the canal at that place, and supercede •Buffalo har- 
bor. The subject was to be acted on by the canal board in a 
few days, and even so trifling an incident as the ground- 
ing of a steamboat might influence their decision, and de- 
prive Buffalo of the fruits of all her toils and exertions in 
building a harbor. 

An effort was, therefore, made either to postpone the 
steamboat excursion, or limit the number of passengers, but 
in vain. Neither the captain, nor a majority of the citizens, 
could appreciate the solicitude of the few. The whole vil- 
lage crowded on board, and the boat grounded. This was 
the more mortifying, as many of our Black Rock friends 
were on board, who had always predicted our failure. But 
after a few minutes' delay in landing some of the people on 
the pier,, the boat moved forward, went alongside of the pier, 
took on the passengers, and proceeded up the lake, with 
bugles sounding and banners flying. 

Note. — The name of George Coit, Judge Wilkeson explains in a note, was 
omitted merely by oversight from the list of those who shared in the expense 
and responsibilities of the harbor undertaking. 

It is natural that there should have been strong personal and political 
animosities engendered by the issues of Judge Wilkeson's day. Elijah D. Efner 
has related the political differences by which he lost the friendship of Judge 
Wilkeson, '"to account for his omitting my name in all his 'Harbor Reports," 
notwithstanding I was the largest individual subscriber to indemnify the stock- 
holders of the steamboat Superior for any loss they might sustain on account of 
not getting the boat out of Buffalo Creek, after it was built, if they would con- 
sent to build it here instead of IMack Rock. The boat was built here, and we, 
the subscribers to the bond, were assessed pro rata to open the channel, in ad- 
dition to which I gave my own services, working in the water up to my waist, 
as laborers o-aVi n u be obtained. T put this on paper, because the old citizens 
who w;re witnesses to what I state are fast passing away.'" — The Adventures 
and Enterprises of Elijah D. Efner, Buffalo Historical Societv Publications, 
Vol. IV.. p. 4-'. 

In the spring of iSjo Buffalo's newspaper, the Niagara Patriot, was an ar- 
dent supporter of Daniel D. Tompkins for Governor. Judge Wilkeson was a 
Clintonian: which induced the Patriot to permit one "Slocumb" to publish the 
following humorous skit in its columns (April 25. iSjo): "Judge Wilkeson is 
now fitting out a small schooner he has. to be ready in case Gov. Clinton loses 
his election, to start up the lake — probably to make a settlement on the ground 
where Tecumseh was killed. His ship's officers, we understand, are selected — - 
J. Sheldon acts as boatswain, C'rary as cook (an old occupation), and T. W. 
Moulton as cabin boy. Success to them." But Clinton was elected, no doubt 
to the chagrin of the Patriot and the satisfaction of Judge Wilkeson and his 






Previous to Gen. Wayne's treaty the navigation of the 
Allegheny River was much interrupted by Indian raids, 
especially between Fort Franklin and Fort Pitt, a distance 
of about 70 miles by land, but 130 by the meanders of the 
river. East of the river, the Indians soon were confronted 
bv the settlements, between the river and the mountains. 

* Captain James Sloan came to Black Rock— then a settlement distinct 
from Buffalo— in 1810, and died there March 5, 1S68. in his 80th year. He 
was born in the State of Pennsylvania, was at an early day a boatman on the 
Allegheny River and on Chautauqua Lake, and on coming to Black Rock en- 
gaged in boating on the Niagara River and in coasting Lake Erie. He was in 
the Government employ during the War of 1812. During the siege of Ft>rt 
Erie Captain Sloan daily passed from Buffalo Creek with supplies of ammuni- 
tion and provisions for the garrison, and always under the batteries on the 
Canada side. When he died the Buffalo 'Commercial Advertiser said of him: 
"An honester man never lived." The reader has seen, in the preceding paper, 
how highly Capt. Sloan was esteemed by Judge Wilkeson. A few years before 
his death, Cain. Sloan wrote his reminiscences, apparently at the request of the 
Hon. Louis F. Allen and Charles D. Norton, to whom he addressed his com- 
munications. These papers, deposited many years ago with the Buffalo His- 
torical Society, are fragmentary, disconnected and so grotesquely illiterate that 
to read them is like translating from a newly-discovered foreign tongue, con - 


Previous to 1795. little trade was attempted on the river; 
but after the treaty, signed in that year, Northwestern 
Pennsylvania commenced settling rapidly,, and soon after, 
Northern Ohio and Western New York. As there were but 
few roads into all this region, and those new and near im- 
passable, the early settlers were obliged to get their supplies 
from Pittsburgh, by the river, and so were our northern 
forts that had been surrendered by the British. 

It would be impossible to make a correct estimate of the 
amount of property shipped by this river route, even' for a 
single year. Xo record of it was kept. Some days two or 
three boats might be seen ascending; scarcely a day passed 
when there was no boat, in the season of navigation. Spring 
navigation ended about the last of June, continuing longer 
if the season was wet. It was not resumed in summer 
freshets ; for the river being rapid the rise passed oft" too 
soon. Lumbermen, however, descended the river with their 
lumber, keeping with the flood. The ordinary navigation 
was by boats carrying from 10 to 16 tons, when loaded so 
as to draw from 18 inches to two feet. There was quite a 
brisk trade carried on in canoes and pirogues, a kind of half 
boat, half canoe. All the boatmen were in a way river ped- 
dlers as well as common carriers, vending their wares along 
the river, at all the landing places and wherever they stopped 
to cook, etc. 

Goods and produce were shipped in this way, to some 

structed on a phonetic basis. Capt. Sloan was a man of deeds, not at all a 
man of the spelling-book; yet the period of his activities was so important, 
and his share in them so full of interest, that it is well worth while to retell 
his story in the present volume, though the obligation of literalness, supposed 
to be incumbent on the transcriber of old documents, must be disregarded. The 
narrative here presented follows as closely as possible Capt. Sloan's own state- 
ments, though abridgment and condensation have been practiced throughout. A 
portion of his reminiscences — that relating to Buffalo harbor work — was pub- 
lished in the Buffalo Morning Express, Nov. jo. iS6j. So far as known to the 
editor of this volume, no other parfof Capt. Sloan's papers has been printed. 
His recollections of early boating on the Allegheny, Chautauqua Lake, Lake 
Erie and the Niagara, as set down by himself are often disconnected and full of 
repetitions. His own caption for these aquatic adventures is Footprints Fifty 
Years Ago! The story of his sojourn among the Indians is written by a dif- 
ferent hand, evidently having been copied many years ago from his own well- 
nigh illegible manuscript. 


extent, to Glean Point and King's Settlement*, and I pre- 
sume sent still further East. Produce and ( >kl. Mononga- 
hela whiskey were brought to Erie, Pa., and Portland, Chau- 
tauqua County, and shipped as far east as Oswego and Salt 
Point, in exchange for salt and cash. 

Quite a stream of emigrants from the Eastern States 
commenced descending the river in the return boats, in small 
boats and on rafts. This continued till 1 left the river in 
1810, and I am informed still continues to some extent. The 
shipping place was principally Olean Point, but Waterford 
and Mayville were also points of embarkation. 

Boating on the Allegheny was the severest test the hu- 
man frame could endure, and hardy men in a few years 
broke down under its strain. The boatman's diet was bread, 
bacon, chocolate and whiskey, with but few vegetables. Vast 
quantities of whiskey were swallowed, but did not seem to 
have any bad effect. Boats were manned with from seven to 
nine men, who propelled the craft with setting-poles, heavily 
ironed, and having a head or button to put the shoulder 
against. In ascending rapids tow-men were sent out to the 
riead of the run to hold the boat while the rest hurried from 
stern to bow to set their poles, and by walking astern again 
thus making the boat gain her own length by every repeated 
operation. The spring season averaged about 90 days, the 
fall about 60; deducting' 21 Sundays as no good, would 
leave say 130 days of up-navigation in the year. The up- 
freight would average, I think, 30 tons a day, making dur- 
ing the navigation season 3.900 tons. The down-freight 
was lumber, shipped in arks and rafts. The emigrants com- 
menced coming about 1S02 or 1803. 

In t8oS I left home intending to ship at Pittsburgh for 
New Orleans, but could make no engagement. Instead I 
engaged to help collect fruit on the Monongahela for the 
Chautauqua market. This we obtained mostly along the 
line of Virginia and Pennsylvania, and on the Cheat River; 
fruit, both green and dry, being abundant in that part of 

* The only King's Settlement the editor finds trace of is in Chenango County : 
that in the text was probably on the upper Allegheny. Olean Point became Olean 
in 1S0S. 


country. The Cheat is all in Virginia* and ioo miles above 
Pittsburgh by river. There are no islands in the Mononga- 

This [? season] numerous Indian raids were made, but 
the river was guarded by a kind of United States police or 
forest rangers. Had it not been for this military force the 
frontier settlements near the east side of the river would 
have been broken up. The men, from long experience in the 
forest, were more active and intelligent than the Indians, 
small bands of whom were often destroyed by them. These 
rangers would pursue Indian stragglers for hundreds of 
miles. The Indian trail was followed by knowing their sig- 
nals. It was by a kind of cipher or hieroglyphics that this 
forest record was made by bands of Indians, for the infor- 
mation of their Indian friends. Thus a band separating, 
will break twigs pointing out the course they are going, and 
showing how many are in each band. Figures were marks 
in the trees. Our men had obtained a key to these and could 
decipher them. This was their only guide; they were not 
tracked as many suppose, by footprints in the trail. These 
rangers had the art of simulating the calls of deer and wild 
turkey and other animals, and would call them up and shoot 
them as well as Indians sometimes, the latter thinking it was 
game that called. Many of the settlements between the Al- 
legheny River and Allegheny Mountains would have been 
broken up but for these rangers. 

In one of these raids I had two companions captured. 
They were carried to the Maumee River, near Fort Maumee, 
and adopted into the family of a chief of the name of Rain- 
cat. ' John, at the time of his capture, was 14, and Nancy 
was younger. They were with the Indians during the wars 
of St. Clair and Wayne, a little over four years. [?John] 
Sloan stated that the Indians were in despair at their re- 
verses in battle, the loss of their friends, the consumption 
of their crops and the destruction of their towns by Wayne's 
arm}-, and the conduct of the fort and the Indian traders 
who had promised them aid in this war as usual but had 
suffered their town and crops to be destroyed under the very 

* West Virginia since 1863. 


guns of the fort. The very gates of the fort were shut 
against the fugitives. 

I first came to Buffalo in 1810. I left Portland in 
August in a small boat, with two barrels of whiskey and 
two of flour as a kind of venture. The - liquor I sold to 
Sheldon Thompson at Lewiston for six shillings per gallon. 
He shipped it to Oswego by the Charles & Ann on her first 
trip. She belonged to Townsend, Bronson & Co. Air. 
Thompson was one of the firm' and had come to Lewiston to 
superintend their business. 

I had left Pittsburgh in March, 18 10, with a canoe carry- 
ing 13 barrels of Hour and whiskey, and a few articles besides 
for Mayville. I sold out and returned again' with two loaded 
canoes carrying 31 barrels, mostly flour. These cargoes I 
sold out along the river and at Mayville, my flour bringing 
$7 a barrel and the whiskey six shillings a gallon. I then 
bought a boat and left Pittsburgh about the middle of June 
with a full freight for myself and merchants at Mayville 
and crossroads, being now a common carrier as well as a 
river peddler. This trip was most disastrous to me. the 
river falling earlier than usual. I had to canoe a portion of 
my freight over the shallow rapids between Franklin and 
Mayville, and in some instances scraping and removing 
stone out of the channel to pass. At the Chautauqua rapids 
I had to canoe a large portion of my freight to the head of 
the rapids and leave it in the woods to be reshipped again in 
my boat at that point. There were about 14 miles of forest 
without any inhabitants. Every pound of my freight was 
delivered and in good order except one potash kettle I left 
at Pithole Creek. There was a heavy fall of snow when we 
were near where Jamestown is now.* This was an important 
channel of communication between the Lakes and the South, 
supplying all our northwestern forts and posts with mu- 
nitions of war and provisions, as well as the early settlers in 
Northern Pennsylvania and Western New York. The lake 
country could not have been settled at so early a day had it 
not been for the facilities afforded by this river. 

* This evidently refers to a different trip. This portion of Capt. Sloan's 
MS. is much confused, with no dates to guide the editor. 



The French Creek navigation commenced several years 
prior to that of the Conewango. The posts along French 
Creek must have been of importance to Xew York, as they 
covered the western part of the state from Indian excur- 
sions. The navigation of the Allegheny was in active opera- 
tion a few years prior to 1800. Soon after the occupation 
of Detroit by United States forces munitions of war and 
provisions were sent up the Allegheny and French Creek 
to Forts Franklin, Casawaga, now Meadville, LeBoeuf, now 
Waterford, Presqu' He, now Erie, and Detroit. The early 
settlers of Chautauqua were partially supplied with their 
•provisions from Pittsburgh. The country being generally 
heavily timbered, it was a hard section for settlement. Mr. 
Ellicott ought to have let the settlers have lands for a hun- 
dred per cent, less than he did. The first settlers were worn 
out with toil in clearing the land. 

In 1810, having visited Niagara Falls and Lewiston, I 
crossed over to Queenston. At this time it was a business 
place, being the head of navigation for the northeastern 
lakes and rivers, and the foot of navigation for the upper 
lakes, and the portage between those channels of commerce. 
Its commanding position made it an important point for the 
Northwest Company, also for the Government goods for the 
Indians, and for merchants, mostly fur traders, who supplied 
their people with goods by this route. 

I returned to Buffalo by way of Chippewa, taking dinner 
there. The innkeeper was an American by the name of 
Jamison. We took passage in a nondescript vehicle, for 
which we were charged five shillings apiece, and came to 
Fort Erie, and paid two shillings apiece ferriage. There 
were four passengers, all Americans, viz., Samuel Parker, 
Patrick Jack, William Sloan and myself. At this time there 
was a bad [ ? feeling] between a large portion of the Canada 
people and citizens of the United States, who were received 
with a kind of uncivil contempt, which was reciprocated by 
the people of the United States. It was evident, after the 
attack of the Leopard on the Chesapeake* that only an ap- 
peal to the sword would settle the controversy. 

* June 22, 1807. 


in the fall of 1811, being engaged in the Detroit fisheries 
and not succeeding well, I transferred my operations with a 

few goods to the rapids at the outlet of Lake Huron and 
passed the winter there. The fisheries at this time were an 
important branch of commerce. They and the fur trade 
were the principal support of Detroit and Michigan. As 
the balance of the trade was against the people there they 
adopted an ingenious device to retain money in the city. 
This was to cut silver coin into small change, commencing 
at the outer rim and cutting to the center, making 10 shil- 
lings out of a dollar. Smaller pieces went through the same 
process. As this left a rough edge and a sharp point they 
soon cut the pocket and no one would attempt to carry this 
light money out of the territory. Their penal code was 
rather a severe one. Offenders were sold and sometimes 
whipped in the public street ; the culprits brought very little 
and generally soon left for parts unknown, thus ridding the 
city of their presence. 

At the rapids at this time there was a band of Chippewa 
Indians that claimed jurisdiction and ownership in the lands 
there, under two chiefs. They were of a roving disposition 
and mostly scattered in the forest till after hunting and 
sugar-making. They then generally drew home to the 
rapids for fishing purposes and pitched their lodges for a 
time. They had a peculiar way of curing sturgeon. This 
was by cutting them in thin, wide slices, and drying them in 
the sun ; then they would pack them away in bundles for 
future consumption. In this way they saved them without 
salt. They were rather good eating. This band was poor 
and owned no animals but dogs. They were hostile to the 
United States, with the exception of the Rileys and one or 
two families of their Indian friends. This hostility was 
principally caused by British and Canadian influence. There 
were three brothers and one sister of the Rileys ; James, 
John, Teter and Mary were their names. Their mother was 
a Chippewa woman and they belonged to the band. Their 
father lived in the city of Schenectady and was postmaster 
of that city for a time. 

I now, with the aid of fames Rilev, commenced learning 


the Chippewa language. He also spoke the French language 
fluently and tolerable English. 1 committed the English and 
Indian words to writing ; the Indians themselves were sur- 
prised at my learning their language so fast. The Chip- 
pewa language is a beautiful one and flows smoothly from 
the tongue. The two chiefs were aged men. The head chief 
was a stupid man, who inherited his position from his an- 
cestors, who had been great chiefs and warriors. Puck- 
wanosh, the other chief, though not possessing so much au- 
thority, was truly a great man. He was the most' majestic 
and graceful man I ever saw ; truly a magnificent speaker. 
His family was interesting and beautiful — for Indians : 
four sons and two daughters ; the chief was a widower. 
The head chief's family was rather ordinary and of a low 
caste, with the exception of the youngest daughter who was 
a fine girl. Puckwanosh must have attracted the notice of 
the officials of our Government as he had a beautiful Ameri- 
can flag and a heavy American silver medal. When he 
wished to pay his respects to me or ask a small favor he 
would always first hoist the flag and it was doubtless the 
first American flag hoisted over where Fort Gratiot now 

The collection of furs in the wilds of Michigan, at this 
time, was principally by Frenchmen and they were. admir- 
ably adapted for that work. They would scour the woods 
for weeks with goods and peltry on their backs, their prin- 
cipal generally establishing himself in some Indian town or 
settlement, and then sending runners into the forest in all 
directions. This mode of life was not without its dangers. 
The traders and couriers were sometimes killed by the In- 

I visited an Indian camp with a young Indian who in- 
formed me where there was a camp where I could get two 
bear skins with my goods. We left after dinner on snow- 
shoes, the snow being fully three feet deep. Xot being used 
to travelling on sriowshoes I lost my balance and pitched 
into the snow, the shoes holding my feet up and my head 
down. I was not able to extricate myself until my Indian 
friend helped me out. About sunset we entered a dense and 


dismal forest and thicket. Here we found the Indians at 
two lodges. They seemed pleased to see us, and 1 was in- 
stalled in the best lodge with bear's meat and honey lor 
supper. They now offered me a skin for whiskey. I then 
opened my pack, in one corner of the lodge. They made 
an offering of a little of the liquor on the tire commending 
themselves to the protection of the Great Spirit and asking 
his blessing on the "Xishaimaba" Indian. They did not 
drink until a late hour and were very quiet. 

Being fatigued with travelling on snowshoes I soon fell 
asleep and had a good night's rest. It is surprising how 
warm a few dry branches will keep one of these lodges. The 
fire is always placed in the center, and the smoke escapes at 
the top where the lodge comes to a point. The covering of 
the lodge is rush matting and the lodge is of a cone shape. 
In the morning we bid good-bye to our Indian friends and 
returned home. I procured several small skins, but saw no 
bear skins. 

Spring now came and with it the Indians. Their hunt- 
ing and sugar operations had closed and they emerged out 
of the wilderness ; their fishing harvest had arrived. I em- 
ployed some of them to catch fish for me. There was a 
small village of lodges around me ; we were encamped at 
the extreme point where the River Huron intersects the 
Saint Clair.* Huron was then called by the French and In- 
dians Wolf River. I spent some pleasant afternoons on the 
green lawn between the two rivers with the Indian boys and 
girls. Their social kindness to me was surprising and there 
never was but one incident to interrupt our friendship, dur- 
ing the seven or eight months that I remained with' them. 
This unfortunately was with the young Indian who accom- 
panied me to the Indian camp. I am of the opinion that my 
safety was owing to the interposition of the chiefs who had 
forbid him injuring me. He had. however, challenged me to 
fight him with arms which, from necessity, I instantly ac- 
cepted, giving him the choice of the arms, with the exception 
of the arrow. This mode he chose, which I refused, as I 

* The Black River appears to be meant, not the Huron, which empties into 
Lake Erie below the Detroit. 


knew nothing about the bow and arrow. Things remained 
in this position for a few days, when, sitting in my fishing 
hut, I noticed him leaping, seeming in a rage, cleaving the 
air and other objects that came within range of his hatchet. 
At last he ran swiftly for my hut, which was open in front. 
In turning the corner my gun was within a few feet of his 
breast. He stood for a few moments, dropped his hatchet 
and came and sat down beside me. He said, we would be 
friends, and we continued so afterwards. Had he advanced 
a step farther with his hatchet I would have shot him. If I 
had done so I do not think I would have been punished as 
many of the Indians saw that I was acting on the defensive. 

His quarrel with me grew out of a very insignificant 
affair. In our outdoor exercise I was more than a match for 
him and he became offended. During my absence at Detroit 
he married an Indian girl named Ti-au-wash, but no one 
mentioned this on my return. I talked and joked with her 
and the old chief's daughter as usual when I returned. His- 
- mother noticing this informed me that her son had married 
Ti-au-wash during my absence, mentioning the amount of 
"cins-qua-quit" (sugar) and trinkets paid to the girl's 
parents for her. 

It was now late in May, and the Indians began to grow 
uneasy expecting a war. One in a grave manner said to me : 

"We and the Saga-nosh (English ) are going to war with 
the Che-mo-ka-man (Americans). We will then have to 
take your scalp." 

I told him I had no fear of that but we would be friends 
until war did take place, then we would settle all scalping 
matters. To this he assented with an exclamation or rather 
a grunt of satisfaction. As this was subsequent, however, to 
the battle of Tippecanoe and one of the band was then in 
Detroit jail for killing a Frenchman, his remarks were any- 
thing but flattering. Riley and the Frenchman were coming 
up the river with a cutter' in a boat. The Indian was sitting 
in the cutter when he was pitched into the river by the 
branch of a tree. The Frenchman could not refrain from 
lauo-hinir. thousrh Rilev cautioned him against it. The In- 


dian entered the boat again, took up his gun and shot the 
Frenchman through the head, killing him instantly. 

This band was poor, but honest, and they held the ties 
of marriage strictly. In religious matters they seemed sin- 
cere. Puck-wa-nosh, the chief, acted as high priest; he 
performed the ceremonies inside a kind of tabernacle of 
matting. The audience sat or stood around in deep and 
devout meditation. Xever did I see anything more solemn. 
His voice was more than human in impressiveness. 

It was about the last of May and they were preparing to 
leave for Amherstburgh. Their effects were shipped in a 
fleet of canoes. They spread their blankets to the breeze 
and stood down the river. I sat down on the bank and 
watched them until they faded from my sight. A desolate 
sadness filled my heart. T thought of home and the green 
hills of Pennsylvania and my kind neighbors who had just 
left me forever — and I wept. 

I saw one of the band in Michigan after the war. He 
informed me that my opponent and many of the band were 
dead or dispersed. His own family was dead. Poor old 
man, he seemed heart-broken and I pitied him much. 

It was now the first of June. I got my effects down to 
Detroit and shipped them on the sloop Contractor, Captain 
James Heard. We came to anchor in Buffalo bay about the 
20th of June, 1S12. The Captain went ashore and when he 
returned he said it was reported that war had been declared. 
The official declaration came on a few days after. The 
sloop was laid up in Scajaquada Creek and was one of Com- 
modore Perry's vessels in the action on Lake Erie. 

A great change has taken place with the red man in the 
last 60 years. His appearance at the commencement of this 
century was wild, warlike and independent, but, alas! now 
he is docile, melancholy and subdued. A great change has 
also taken place in his dress. Then it was of the most gro- 
tesque appearance ; the hair generally shaved close off the 
head, except a tuft on the crown. This was often adorned 
with paint and feathers. Others of mature age, slit the rim 
of the ear, and wore pieces of lead inserted to distend the 
rim. Their wardrobe was of the most scanty patterns ; in 


the summer generally a calico shirt, leggins or hare legs. In 
the winter a capoe [? capote] coat, leggins and moccasins, 
with a strip of blue cloth running up the hack and front and 
fastened around the waist with a belt or girdle. I have no 
recollections, for several years after 1800, of seeing any In- 
dian with pantaloons or hat on. Those who could afford it 
had a great passion for silver ornaments ; their garments 
were adorned with broaches, rings and half-moons down the 
breast in great profusion. 

In the early part of this century the Cornplanter band 
and other northern Indians had quite a trade at Pittsburgh. 
Although this was a great way to go to trade there was no 
inconveniency in it to the Indian. From the source of the 
river to near its mouth were the Indians' elysium fields, the 
hills and mountains being stocked with vast herds of deer 
and other game. The}' generally had to winter on the way 
down to Pittsburgh in the hills and mountains to kill game 
to make their purchases with. In 1799 an Indian called by 
the whites Hayes, during the hunting season killed 60 deer 
and other game, only 47 miles north of Pittsburgh. The 
brook he encamped on still bears his name. This will give 
some idea of the game on the mountains of that river. The 
white hunters sometimes objected to the Indians hunting as 
they had sold their lands. The Indians, however, alleged 
they had made no transfer of the game on their land, and 
while it lay wild they had rights as good as, if not better 
than, the white man. They also alleged that when white 
men sold their land they did not let their cattle go with the 
land without pay. As this was a kind of knock-down argu- 
ment, they were not molested. Naturally there was a hostile 
feeling against the Indians at this time, for many had lost 
their friends in the Indian wars and raids. The Cornplanter 
band was, however, an exception. They were generally 
treated with kindness in consequence of the excellent repu- 
tation of their chief. 

Cornplanter was a household word when I was a lad. 
He always bore the reputation of a moral and an honest 
man, and his name is held in grateful remembrance from the 


source to the mouth of that river, and there are steamboats 
on the Allegheny and Ohio rivers bearing his name. 

Red Jacket, as seen in the streets of Buffalo with his 
blanket over his shoulders and otherwise indifferently 
clothed, appeared like a very common kind of an Indian 
until you caught his eye. This was sharp and intelligent and 
when he spoke in council his eyes flashed with great bril- 
liancy and fire. I attended two councils where Red Jacket 
addressed the Indian audience in a set speech. Although 
the Indians are grave in council, they were moved with his 
oration as their native forests are with a mighty wind. 
These councils were held early in July under an elm tree 
east of Washington Street, near the intersection of Xorth 
Division Street. Judge Granger, as Indian agent, addressed 
the Indians through Messrs. Parrish and Jones, as inter- 
preters. His speech was a kind of history of the past and 
friendly advice for guidance in the future. It appeared to 
be well received by the Indians. One object of the council 
was to have our Indians call a council in Canada to prevail 
on the Canada Indians to lay neutral during the war. Our 
Indians were willing to do so. The council was held in 
Canada, but the Canada Indians refused to lay down the 
hatchet. Judge Granger was an able and pleasant speaker 
and a good patriot ; would to heaven we were all so now. 
But, alas! we have public journals, journalists and others 
who assail our Government and say a great deal more 
against it than against Jeff Davis's government.* 

Farmer's Brother deserves a passing notice. He was a 
splendid looking old chief, when I knew him, and was said 
to be So years old in 1813. At this great age he bore arms 
and was seriously injured by the wind of a cannon ball in the 
rear of Fort George in 181 3. He was prostrated by its force 
and a good deal of swelling took place. The Farmer was 
more social in his intercourse with the whites than Red 
Jacket. I recollect staying, over night at Pomeroy's Buffalo 
tavern late in the fall of 1813, when the Farmer and Sally, 
his wife, passed the night there. He had come up to cele- 

* Written in 1S62. 


brate the anniversary of his friend, Tawway, who had 
escaped from a drunken mob to the house of the chief. 

The Farmer, although a gentle Indian, committed a rash 
act in killing an Indian spy from the Grand River. This 
took place between Swan and Seneca streets, on Main Street. 
The Farmer had been threatened and insulted by the Indian. 
He wore a large and splendid medal said to have been pre- 
sented to him by General Washington, with the remark that 
he was the noblest and best looking Indian that he had ever 
seen. Sally, his wife, was a noble-looking woman, ap- 
parently a good deal younger than her husband. The 
Farmer died in 1814 and was buried with the honors of war 
in the old cemeten on Franklin Street. * 

John Krant was the most remarkable Indian I ever saw. 
Though rather dark, his person and appearance were splen- 
did and his features faultless and beaming with intelligence 
— open, frank and polite, with great conversational powers, 
and always a gentleman. He was elected to parliament, but 
in consequence of the votes polled by those having title from 
his father, he was not returned as member, although the title 
had been confirmed by Government. He died with the 
cholera in 1834. His death was truly affecting. In an in- 
terval of pain before he expired he made some reflections 
on his past life, saying he ought to have been a better and 
a greater man from the opportunity he had. He then asked 
to be carried to the door to see the light before darkness 
closed on him forever. This was done and poor Brant then 
passed away.f 

I spent the month of December, 1813, in visiting my 
friends in Pennsylvania, not having been home in nearly 
four years. It was peaceable times along the lines when I 

* Farmer's Brother died March _\ 1815. His remains were removed from 
the Franklin Street burying-ground (site of the present City and County Hall) 
to Forest Lawn, Oct. 15, 1851. 

t It was John Brant, a son of Joseph, who, while in England in 1823, 
called the attention of the poet Campbell to the injustice which the latter had 
done to the character of Joseph Brant, in the poem, Gertrude of Wyoming. 
Documents were shown to the poet which convinced him of his error; this he 
acknowledged in a note to a subsequent edition, but the text of the poem re- 
mained unchanged and is probably in no small degree responsible for the er- 
roneous ideas that have prevailed regarding Joseph Brant. 


left. On my return in January, 1814, I was shocked to find 
Buffalo in ashes. Of all the inhabitants of that village and 
Black Rock the only ones I saw were Seth Grosvenor and 
Reuben B. Heacock, for a few minutes at Cold Spring, and 
a woman named Daly. They had all been scattered to the 
four winds, like Noah's dove finding no rest. Sitting in my 
saddle I took a sorrowful survey of the ruin and desolation 
around me, without seeing man, beast or fowl, or anything 
that had the breath of life in it. 

In my younger days I had had a great passion for boat- 
ing, and my anxious desire was to go boating on the Ohio 
and Mississippi, but my destiny bound me to Buffalo. I 
now bade the place a sorrowful farewell. My intention was 
to build one or more boats for the Ohio River trade, but as 
they were now building steamboats at Pittsburgh every man 
that knew anything of the art was employed, and I could 
procure no ship-carpenters. I returned to Buffalo again, in 
the spring of 18 14. I now found things greatly changed. 
Gen. Scott was now established here with quite a force. 
Many traders had established themselves in shanties and 
temporary buildings. Some of the inhabitants had returned, 
and strains of martial music enlivened the scene. I now 
actively engaged in boating for. the army. 

In March, 18 15, I passed through a dangerous firing 
ordeal. In looking over some old papers I find a note I 
gave, under date of Willoughby [O.], March 8, 181 5, prom- 
ising to pay John Warren or order, to days after date, the 
sum of Si 34.50. This note was given for the duties on 
about $2,000 worth of goods bought of Judge Wilkeson, 
with the exception of a few goods bought from Grosvenor & 
Heacock to complete the assortment, and a lot of boots from 
P. P. Pratt." Such goods sell rapidly after war, though pro- 
visions do not. It was proper to sell as soon as possible ; 
but to run the goods myself into the midst of the British 
army, and of the desperate fellows who always hang on the 
skirts of an army for plunder, was another thing. I left 
[Buffalo] on the morning of the 8th March and swept 
close along the north shore. The first sign of life I saw was 

So in th.2 MS. Samuel l'ratt is probably meant 


six and a half miles below Waterloo [Fort Erie village] at 
Everts 's. Here I landed, as it so happened at the same time 
that Col. Warren was passing. He said I was in his distriet 
and must settle the duty. This was a stunner. I had only a 
small sum with me for current expenses. He, however, took 
my note as above stated, and endorsed $63 on it as paid. 
That was for goods I sold Everts, and handed him [the 
money] before he mounted. 

Ten miles below Waterloo I was brought to by the ad- 
vance picket guard. I infer this was a strong guard, as three 
or four commissioned officers came on board, one with the 
title of major. They made some purchases and I was allowed 
to pass on. Landing at Chippewa we were assailed with ter- 
rible language by army vagabonds. So terrified was a 
young man whom I had taken along for assistant, that he 
fled instantly, back to Buffalo, leaving me with the prospect 
that I would lose my goods if not my life. The ruffians 
threatened to send me, my boat and goods over the falls if 
I offered to vend any of my goods there. They were, they 
said, afraid of being . . . * 

Boating on the Niagara becoming dull, the 1st of June, 
181 5, I applied to my old friend Major Camp for business on 
the lake. Having done hazardous boating for him during 
the war, he did not hesitate to ship two companies of United 
States soldiers, baggage, provisions and .all, on board my 
two boats, Capts. Fowl and Fisher. I afterwards carried 
Lt. Armstrong's company, making three trips through the 
lake during the summer between Buffalo and Detroit. 
These boats were not adapted to lake navigation, being long, 
shallow, open boats, perfectly tlat in the bottom. My mode 
of navigating them was to keep close in shore, noting the 
mouths of the creeks and rivers so as to make a harbor in 
case of necessity. . There were no other harbors in those 

* The narrative aggravatingly is discontinued at this point, in the original 
manuscript, and in the middle of a page, indicating that Capt. Sloan did not 
finish it. As he calls it ahove "a dangerous firing ordeal," the inference is that 
he escaped from the '"ruftins" fas his manuscript lias it) only after an exchange 
of something more dangerous than the "terahle langage" with which they had 
greeted him. Incomplete as it is, the incident has its value as illustrating the 
difficulties attending what was probably the first attempt at international trade 
on the Niagara after the cessation of hostilities. 


days, and the rivers were sometimes barred over. Such 
superfluities as an anchor or compass I never carried, but 
once; and this was the cause of my losing my cargo.* 

Nothing worthy of note took place during the season. 
The last trip was a fishing excursion. To save distance I 
went up the Canada shore. That fall I put up 119 barrels of 
whitefish at Windmill Point, at the outlet of Lake St. Clair, 
and shipped them to Black Rock by Capt. Levi Johnson in 
the schooner Pilot. I cannot now recollect any vessels as 
belonging to Buffalo in 1815. The sloop Commodore Perry 
and the Pilot belonged to Cleveland. The General Jackson 
was built this year at Ashtabula. There w r ere one or two 
poor vessels belonging to Detroit; the public (i. e., Govern- 
ment) vessels lay at Erie. Maj. Camp, Miller and Beard 
owned the brig Hunter for a short time in 181 5 and then 
sold her to the United States. 

In the spring of 18 16 there were several fine vessels ; the 
schooners Michigan, Erie, and sloop Hanna. The brig 
Union was about 94 tons, the Michigan a little more and the 
Erie a little less. The schooner Neptune was brought out 
this year and some others of less note. The brig I_ nion 
appeared to be the base of [Jonathan] Sidway's great for- 
tune. Capt. James Beard, who sailed her in 18 16, told me 
she cleared $6,000 that year. This amount in those days was 
a vast sum to invest in real estate. t 

Up to 18 17 I supposed that no other agency than the 
winds caused the waters of Lake Erie to ebb and flow. 
From that date to the present time I am positive there are 
other causes, to me unknown. In the spring of 18 17, being 
on a voyage to Grand River, I put in at Point Abino. Soon 
after landing I noticed the water was falling fast. We 
hastened to move the boat into deep water, but did not suc- 
ceed, and in a few minutes walked round the boat on bare 
ground, the water having fallen about two feet. The people 
on the Point said I need not be alarmed, as there were 
always tides flowing in the bay, and that the tide would soon 

* But he doesn't tell us how. 

t Referring to profitable investments in Main Street property, made in the 
Sidway interest. 


be in again. In about an hour I resumed my voyage. The 
tides still flow in Point Abino bay, but are not often so high. 

A very heavy ebbing of the lake took plaee about the 
last of May, 1825, the water falling three feet. I had just 
entered Buffalo Creek with a heavy load of goods in the boat 
Sally, my men propelling her with setting-poles. The day 
was ealm and warm. In an instant we were eheeked by a 
flow of water out of the creek, giving us sternway into the 
lake. We, however, got lines over the spiles and checked 
her up. The Abagail, a large open river boat belonging to 
Sheldon Thompson and myself was undergoing repairs at 
the intersection of Main Street and the creek. He had all 
the caulkers he could procure at work on her, and a number 
of barrels of salt on the outer rim to careen her. So rapid 
was the fall of water that the boat was partly capsized and 
all the salt was lost in the creek.* 

In 1 818 I again bade Buffalo farewell, but after nearly 
two years of sickness and misfortune, for self and family, I 
returned again to Buffalo. 

All the preliminary arrangements to commence work on 
the harbor at the mouth of Buffalo Creek were completed 
early in May, 1820. I was called upon by Judge Wilkeson 
to assist in its construction. I was at a loss to know what I 
could do. I had just returned from a sojourn of nearly two 
years in the swamps of Michigan and the Maumee River, 
broken down in health and fortune. I, however, obtained 
an old boat from Sill, Thompson & Co., patched her up and 
commenced boating stone, from the Canada shore. The 
Black Rock quarries had not yet been opened, and had they 
been it would have been difficult to obtain stone on account 
of the current of the river and surf of the lake. 

The Buffalo Harbor Company consisted of Townsend & 
Coit, Samuel Wilkeson and Oliver Forward. These men 
mortgaged their property to the State of Xew York for 
$12,000, to construct the harbor. This was a vast sum of 

* Capt. Sloan gives other instances of sudden changes in Lake Erie's level, 
and theorizes as to the cause, at a length to which it is hardly profitable to fol- 
low him. His historical recollections are more valuable than his deductions in 
the realm of natural phenomena. 


money in those days for three houses to raise, when times 
were hard and property at a low figure in the village of Buf- 
falo. They, however, with a commendable zeal commenced 
the harbor, though its stability was much questioned. It 
was held that no harbor would stand on a bed of sand, and 
the company had much to discourage them ; still the Super- 
intendent with unceasing' energy and judgment pressed the 
work forward through the summer of 1820. And when 
after this long lapse of time* I look back to what was done 
in 1820 with the men and means employed on this work, I 
am astonished at what was performed. 

I deem it proper to notice the marine of the port of Buf- 
falo Creek in May, 1820. Winthrop Fox owned two boats 
that could have carried a cord of stone each. Jonathan 
Umpstead [Olmstead] owned one that carried a cord and a 
half. These three boats, Skate's skiff and Meadows's canoe 
constituted on the 1st of May, 1820, the whole marine of 
the port of Buffalo Creek. A yawl boat, and a scow that 
carried a cord of stone were added soon after by the Harbor 
Company, for harbor purposes. Some of our citizens owned 
vessel stock on the lake, but hailing from other ports. The 
humble craft of Meadows I give a place in the list, as he was 
one of the first settlers of the village of Buffalo, and has a 
kind of posthumous fame in the annals of our courts. 

I was actively engaged until about the 20th of June, in 
boating stone from the Canada shore. Up to this time my 
boat and a few stones from the Plains had been sufficient to 
sink the piers in shallow waters. The agent was now anxious 
that I should secure another boat. Fox, on whom they re- 
lied for stone, never delivered any, or his boats. Umpstead 
had a contract with the Walk-in-the-W'ater, and was boat- 
ing wood for that steamboat from the Indian reservation to 
Black Rock. I applied to my old friend James Cummings, 
Esq., of Chippewa, who kindly lent me a boat. Although 
this was done as a favor to myself, it was at this critical mo- 
ment of more consequence' to the company. With these two 
boats I was able to deliver nine cords of stone per day in 
calm weather. My plan was to man strong and load light, 

* Written in iS6j. 


so that we could heave the stone overboard if we were struck 
with a squall. The summer of 1820 was one of calms and 
light winds. The lake was said to be lower by the old set- 
tlers on the Canada shore than it had been since the Revolu- 
tionary War. 

The construction of Buffalo harbor being the first at- 
tempt to build a harbor on the lakes,* was attended with much 
difficulty and hazard. The means of the company were in- 
adequate for the construction of the work, and its strength 
was severely tested. In the fall of 1820 the sea washed the 
stone out of sections of the cribs as low as the surface of the 
water, yet the work and the trundling were so strong and 
faithfully done that the empty space stood the gales and the 
shock of the sea. But little iron was used in the harbor — 
only a few spike. The cribs were refilled and capped over 
with flattened ties to keep the sea from washing the stone 
out of the cribs. In opening a new channel, the present one, 
the harbor was again threatened with ruin by the creek un- 
dermining and making excavations under long sections of 
the cribs and partially capsizing them. Still they stood this 
severe test without breaking up. The wisdom of putting 
large quantities of brush in the cribs was now apparent, as it 
prevented the stone from falling into the excavations made 
by the creek. 

Buffalo Creek previous to the construction of the harbor 
was exceedingly difficult to enter, a long outer bar confining 
its channel in shore, and causing its entrance into the lake 
nearly parallel with the shore. When the action of the sea, 
as was often the case, would confine the creek by shifting 
the bar in shore, the creek would then break through the 
bar, washing a better entrance into the harbor. It was al- 
ways, however, unsafe to enter when there was a sea on the 
outer bar, even when there was sufficient water to do so. 
The channels made by the creek across the bar would 
gradually till up again, thus causing a continual shifting of 

* This is not strictly accurate, for in the spring of 1819 harbor improve- 
ments were attempted at the mouth of Grand River, Ohio. The work at Buffalo 
was the second attempt, ami the first success. See Capt. Augustus Walker's- 
paper, in this volume. 


the channel of the creek by the action of the sea and current 
of the stream. Other streams of the lake entered at about 
right angles with the lake shore, making their entrance more 
direct and safe. 

In justice to the Superintendent of the harbor, the late 
Judge Wilkeson, much is due from the citizens of Buffalo, 
to his memory and family, for his energy and judgment in 
its construction. Having had much experience in harbor 
building since 1820 I am satisfied that no other plan than 
the one adopted could have resisted the fall gales of 1820. 
Had this work failed in 1820, the results would have been 
most disastrous to the village of Buffalo. Doubtless no 
other work of the kind would have been attempted for years 
after, if ever. And the city of Buffalo, its commercial in- 
terests, business and population would have been removed 
to the Niagara River. What vast results are produced by 
the wisdom and genius of a single individual. 

This noble river, with its clear running waters and fine 
high banks, its commercial marine, both steam and sail, bid 
fair to rival Buffalo and carry off the palm. Powerful com- 
petitors and opponents of the Buffalo harbor were now in 
the field, sustained by the villages from Oswego to Black 
Rock, pressing their claims for a harbor at the latter place. 
A failure in 1820 would have sealed the fate and fortunes of 
Buffalo. Buffalo flats and creek at this period were any- 
thing but inviting. From Little Buffalo Creek northerly to 
near the Xiagara River, with the exception of a few ridges 
of timber and ponds of water, it was a marsh. Some of the 
ponds were stocked with fish. In a large one a little south- 
easterly of where the workhouse now stands* the soldiers 
assured me they had caught sturgeon. There were two out- 
lets to this swamp, one into Buffalo Creek near its mouth, 
the other into the Xiagara River, where the old canal in- 
tersects the harbor. Previous to the war there was a rim or 
bank from near Buffalo Creek to the X'iagara River higher 
than the land inside. This ridge or bank became elevated 
into sandhills, at a point between Buffalo Creek and X'iag- 

* The older part of the present Erie County Penitentiary, on Fifth Street, 
erected 1847. 


ara River, some 40 feet high, and more than half a mile in 
length, the whole rim or hank covered with forest. The 
timber on it and the ridges was taken mostly by the United 
States troops for the construction of barracks and for fuel. 
There was a wide and beautiful sand beach between the bank 
and the lake. There had apparently no change taken place 
either in the beach or the bank for a long time previous to 
the cutting of the timber off the banks, apparently not for 

The procuring of stone from the Canada shore was a 
dangerous- and slavish operation in our old inefficient boats. 
Our mode was to run up close in shore and commence load- 
ing, and as the boat settled keep shoving out farther until 
loaded, lifting the stone all out of the water. None were 
quarried. We were often obliged to do our cooking and dry 
ourselves by driftwood fires, in the evening, and sleep in 
open boats. The labor of the harbor men was also uncom- 
fortable and heavy. They were, however, better fed and 
lodged than the boatmen. It would naturally be presumed 
men would break down under such drudgery. This was not, 
however, the case. They were cheerful and healthy. I do 
not recollect of a single man being sick on the works during 
the summer. My own health improved rapidly. Umpstead 
and myself made two trips daily to the Canada shore in good 
weather, delivering with our boats two loads of stone each 
per day ; and when the wants were pressing, we made three 
trips a day by working in the evening. The other boats gen- 
erally made but one trip a day. 

About the 20th of June I was joined by Umpstead and 
three boats from up the lake. This enabled the Harbor 
Company to reduce the price of stone from S3. 50 to $3 per 
cord. The timber for the work was obtained in Hamburg, 
and delivered on the bank near the works for $30 a thou- 
sand, cubic measure. The harbor ties were obtained for 
$9 a hundred. I had -several load of stone delivered on 
the beach at a point where the work was to commence. 
About six eighths of all the stone used in 1820, was ob- 
tained on the Canada shore, the balance from P>ird Island, 
Liirht House Reef and the Plains. The citizens of Fort 


Erie in the after part of the season were opposed to our 
taking stone, and one of my boats was seized and con- 
demned. Col. Warren, a friend of mine, would have given 
her up, as she had committed no breach of revenue law, but 
was overruled by his deputy and others. This misfortune 
reduced me again to poverty and distress. This boat the 
company ought to have paid me for, as I pioneered the other 
boats across, when the necessities of the company were 
pressing for stone. Two more of the boats were seized 
afterwards, but were retaken again by the owners at night 
from Fort Erie without consulting the collector. This 
threw the deputy into a towering rage, and the first time I 
ventured into his presence, he abused the whole Yankee 
nation and myself in particular. But after considerable 
palaver it was agreed that the balance of the boats might 
continue getting stone by paying a small entrance fee, and 
that he would hold me accountable for the payment. I as- 
sured him I would do all in my power to collect or compel 
the other boats to pay the fee. We were to pay two shil- 
lings a load entrance, and pay up once a week. This was 
but partially complied with, the boats neglecting or refusing 
to pay the fee. The deputy, though a passionate man, was 
not a bad man to deal with, and the boats had no further 
trouble, although I was annoyed in keeping matters straight, 
but gained the deputy's friendship. 

J : ^l 





Corps of Engineers, L\ S. Army, M. Am. Soc. C. E., Engineer Officer in charge, 



x M. Am. Soc. C. E., Principal Asst. U. S. Engineer. 

Along in the closing- days of the eighteenth century the 
important part that the Great Lakes were to play in the com- 
mercial development of our country was becoming recog- 
nized with greater and greater force. Wise and thoughtful 
men familiar with the lakes and their connecting waters and 
the country in their vicinity, were impressed with the fact 
that at the lower end of Lake Erie, where the waters con- 
verge into the swift and impassable Niagara River, there 
must come into existence a city and harbor where vessels 
navigating the lakes could discharge or take on cargoes and 
passengers en route between the East and West. 

At this time there were two methods of communication 
between the Atlantic seaboard and the foot of Lake Erie: 
by foot, horseback or wagon across the state of New York ; 


or by boat up the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, over to 
Oneida Lake, and down ( )neida and ( )swego rivers to Lake 
Ontario, making all necessary portages, thence on through 
Lake Ontario to the lower Niagara River at Lewiston, 
thence by portage about the Falls to the upper Xiagara 
River and Lake Erie. The rapids at the extreme head of 
the Xiagara precluded the use of this river as a harbor in 
which the small sailing boats of that day navigating the 
Great Lakes could find a refuge and discharge and take on 
cargo. Some protection was required by vessels in harbor 
against the storms of Lake Erie, and this was furnished 
to a certain extent by a small island called Bird Island, sit- 
uated just at the head of the Xiagara River on the American 
side. Behind this little island the small vessels of the day 
could get a partial shelter, and on the river bank at this 
sheltered spot the village of Black Reck was started, and its 
projectors and early settlers built high hopes on its becoming 
the chief commercial emporium at the foot of Lake Erie. 

But the spirit of enterprise and rivalry was abroad. 
About two miles above Black Rock a small stream known as. 
Buffalo Creek emptied its waters into Lake Erie, and about 
its mouth a little settlement was started. Buffalo Creek was 
navigable for canoes for some eight or ten miles above its 
mouth ; in the lower part of its course for a mile or more it 
was deep enough to float the largest lake ship of the time, 
but there was a troublesome sandbar at its mouth and the 
entrance to the creek was uncertain, crooked and bad, mak- 
ing the inner harbor very difficult, and sometimes impos- 
sible, of entrance. "If this wretched bar could be removed 
and the entrance rendered straight and stable, Buffalo Creek 
is a better harbor than Black Rock." So said the early Buf- 
falonians. This was scoffed at by the Black Rockers, and 
an intense rivalry sprang up between these two frontier vil- 
lages, about two miles apart. 

In the meantime an event fraught with tremendous con- 
sequences to Xew York State and to Buffalo in particular 
was in course of preparation and about to culminate. This 
was the construction of the Erie Canal. This was under 
consideration for manv vears before the canal was finally 


completed, and before this stage was reached it was neces- 
sary to decide on its western terminus. The decision was 
narrowed down to Black Rock and Buffalo; and the rivalry 
between the two places became in consequence more and 
more bitter, and feeling ran high as the partisans of each 
place recognized that the settlement of this question would 
turn the scale and decide which would be the chief city of 
the future. 

A canal commission came and sat, and examined and 
listened to the rival claims. The Black Rockers had built a 
pier to add to the facilities of their harbor. The Buffalonians 
had yet to prove that a suitable entrance could be made to 
their creek, but they secured the consent of the canal com- 
mission to reserve their decision as to which should be the 
canal terminus until they had time to construct their harbor 
entrance. Then came the struggle 1 , but the Buffalonians had 
faith in their harbor and joined hands and pockets "to re- 
move that bar." They did remove it and the canal com- 
missioners at last decided in favor of Buffalo. They wisely 
felt that they were not deciding the question in the light of 
the past and present, but chiefly in the light of the future, 
and that Buffalo could more easily be made into a harbor of 
ample dimensions to accommodate the lake commerce of the 
future than could the Niagara River at Black Rock. Inci- 
dentally also by tapping Lake Erie at Buffalo Creek they 
would gain a foot or two of elevation of water over tapping 
the Niagara River at Black Rock, and this would mean a 
foot or more less excavation all the way to Lockport. 

The decision of the canal commission settled the matter, 
and Buffalo's supremacy was assured, and it commenced in 
absolute security its onward march to the proud position in 
the world of trade and commerce that it occupies today, 
during which it swallowed Black Rock, which now is but a 
small corner of the great city. 

This position was not reached without great struggles 
and sacrifices on the part of the people of Buffalo, in which 
they were very materially aided by the United States. To 
convert the little Buffalo Creek into a safe and easily- 
entered harbor in which it is possible to handle the enormous 


commerce of the present day has been a work of great mag- 
nitude and cost. It was accomplished by degrees and con- 
sumed all of the nineteenth century, and now at the dawn 
of the twentieth century, that commerce, both in magnitude 
of products handled and in the size of ships, is outgrowing 
the creek harbor, and the greater Buffalo of the future must 
develop along other lines and in a more commodious outer 

The history of the development of the harbor is interest- 
ing and instructive, and it is proposed to outline it and to 
describe briefly the harbor works built in the past and now 
being built by the United States Government to provide for 
the present and future accommodation of Buffalo's com- 
merce. These works, it must be understood, are simply 
those built to secure and protect the entrance channel and 
the river and outer harbors. The United States Govern- 
ment lends its aid only to securing and maintaining the great 
public highways of commerce; not to developing and im- 
proving the inner channelways, the building of docks and 
warehouses and elevators, which are owned and controlled 
by municipalities, corporations, and individuals. 

The original troublesome bar at the mouth of Buffalo 
Creek was made by the detritus brought down by the stream 
and by the sands moving along the lake beach towards the 
Niagara River. Similar formations exist at the mouths of 
most streams emptying into great bodies of water subject 
to strong wave action, and engineers are very frequently 
called upon to develop and maintain channels across such 

At Buffalo it was not only necessary to excavate the 
channel across the bar, but to build protective structures 
which would prevent the sand borne by littoral currents 
from filling it up again. This was originally accomplished 
by the pioneers of Buffalo as before stated. The early resi- 
dents of Buffalo did not have much money, but they had 
abundant faith and plenty of "sand" in their make-up to 
combat the sands of the bar. Several of them clubbed to- 
gether and borrowed Si 2.000 from the State of Xew York, 
a large sum in those days, giving their personal notes for the 


amount. Then they went to work and dug their channel and 
to protect it built a portion of what are now the United 
States piers, of timber cribwork filled with stone and of piles 
and brush. Although it has passed through many vicissi- 
tudes, this is the entrance channel of today. The history of 
the opening of the entrance channel and the construction of 
the original piers is most interestingly and graphically de- 
scribed in Judge Wilkeson's paper in the archives of the 
Buffalo Historical Society.* 

The preliminary work as above outlined, the struggle to 
secure the primitive entrance channel, was accomplished in 
1820 and 1 82 1. It was accomplished with funds advanced 
by the enterprising citizens of Buffalo, and afterwards re- 
funded by the State of Xew York, the State assuming con- 
trol of the harbor. The United States Government had not 
yet extended a helping hand. For a description of these first 
harbor works we must depend upon the records of the Buf- 
falo Historical Society. Drawing upon those records, John- 
son's Centennial History of Erie County says (pp. 350-351) : 

"The mouth of the creek (Buffalo) was 60 rods north 
of where it now is, the stream running for that distance 
nearly parallel with the lake. The ridge between them was 
found to be of gravel, so solid that it could not be removed 
(as was necessary to make a new mouth and a straight chan- 
nel) by manual labor without immense expense. 
The harbor was completed in the summer of 1821, 221 work- 
ing days having been occupied in its construction.'' It con- 
sisted of a south pier composed of timber cribs tilled with 
stone and brush, extending a quarter of a mile into the lake 
to 13 feet of water, and a north pier composed of a double 
row of piles tilled with brush .and stone. This north pier 
was about 1.000 feet in length, t 

From Judge Wilkeson's narrative we can infer (for he 
srives no data on channel dimensions ) that the channel be- 

* Published, pp. 134-214 of this volume. 

t William Peacock's original report to the Legislature, 1819, proposed a 
stone pier 990 feet loner, six feet above lake level. 30 feet broad at the bottom 
and 10 feet broad at the tup. Its cost was estimated at $12,787, or if built of 
wood, at $10,500. — See abstract in the Albany Gazette, reprinted in the Niagara 
Patriot, March j. 1819. 


tween the piers was about eight feet deep. The piers were 
about 200 Feet apart, the same as now, but it is not probable 
that the original channel was of this width. It was probably 
about 100 feet wide. From old records we find that as an 
aid to navigation at this primitive harbor, a stone lighthouse 
had been built by the United States Government, about 1820, 
some 1,400 feet southeast of the present Buffalo light on tin- 
United States south pier. It was located "on a low sandy 
point," near where the oil house of the Lighthouse Depart- 
ment now stands, south of the south pier. A primitive light 
"was fixed at the pierhead (south pier) for the use of the 

Such was the harbor of Buffalo in 182 1, and such it re- 
mained during the following five years, without any im- 
provements except possibly minor repairs by the State of 
New York. The facilities it offered, however, appear to 
have encouraged commerce, for we rind that while the num- 
ber of vessels arriving and departing was 120 in 1820, the 
number had increased to 359 in 1825. It was in this year, 
1825, that the Erie Canal was completed, and it evidently 
at once stimulated trade. In 1827 the number of vessels 
arriving and departing had increased to 972, two and three- 
quarter times as many as in 1825. 

In 1826 an appropriation of $15,000 was made by the 
Federal Government "for building a pier and repairing an 
old one at the mouth, of Buffalo Creek." (Ex. Doc. No. 64, 
page 176, H. R. 48th Congress, 1st Session.) "Upon that 
the United States Engineer (-General Macomb) took pos- 
session and made it a government work." This was the be- 
ginning of the United States Government's aid to, and ad- 
ministration of. Buffalo harb»»r, and it has not failed to con- 
tinue such aid with increasing liberality up to the present 

From that time as the needs of commerce developed, 
projects for the harbor's improvement also developed. First 
in importance came the improvement and preservation of 
the entrance channel to Buffalo Creek, or the inner harbor, 
and the piers protecting that channel. Then came projects 
for protecting the inner harbor from lake storms, and 


finally the development of an outer harbor. This develop- 
ment involved the construction of definite structures, and 
the history of the harbor can perhaps best be outlined by 
taking up these structures in chronological order, and giving 
their history separately. They may be enumerated as fol- 
lows : 

I. The entrance channel and piers. 

II. Protection works along the lake shore; including (a) 

the sea wall, and (b) the sand-catch pier. 
III. The breakwaters and outer harbor ; including (a) the 
old breakwater, (b) the breakwater extension to 
Stony Point, and (c) the north breakwater. 

The Entrance Channel and Piers. 

The south pier at the entrance proved to be a very trou- 
blesome structure to maintain. It was exposed to the full 
force and fur}- of the storms of Lake Erie, and the frail 
structures first put up were washed away again and again. 
It took some years and much experience to demonstrate that 
only a structure of tremendous strength could withstand the 
fierce onslaught of the lake when lashed into fury by a south- 
wester. To secure a structure of adequate strength con- 
sumed a greater part of the Government appropriations up 
to 1839, when the south pier was finally reported completed. 
It was in this interval of 13 years ( i82(>-'39) extended, 
straightened and strengthened. * The old timber-work grad- 
ually gave place to stone-work of heavy cut stone well 
cemented, forming a mole or wall with a vertical face to- 
wards the entrance channel 14 feet above water. Along the 
channel below this wall was a heavy stone-paved "towing- 
path" for handling canal-boats, and on the south, or lake 
side, a paved stone slope extended from the top of the mole 
to the water's vd^c. The pier was 1,790 feet long, of which 
about 1.425 feet was built of stone, forming the mole, and 


the remainder was crib-work extending easterly from the 
inner end of the mole towards the "'elbow," where the Wat- 
son elevator now stands. 

The mole was 14 feet above water, and the tow-path 
three feet above water on the north side. There was a row 
of piles on the south side of the mole. The lake end was 
swelled out to receive a lighthouse, and the stone Buffalo 
light now standing was erected in 1833. There was a row 
of close piling along the channel face of the "tow-path." 

The pier as thus built stood unchanged, except for re- 
pairs to the stone sea-slope and strengthening in weak places 
from time to time, from 1S39 to 1848, in which the Black- 
well (City) Ship Canal was constructed by the city, com- 
mencing "at the Government land on the south side of Buf- 
falo Creek, and running in a general southerly direction to 
the south side of the ( proposed ) south channel, being 200 
feet wide and 16 feet deep." The construction of this canal 
must have required the removal of a part of the timber part 
of the south pier at its eastern end, and eventually the United 
States relinquished some of its land and carried out the con- 
struction of the dock front of the Lighthouse Department 
property as it now exists, running southeasterly from the 
inner end of the mole, at the Life-saving Station, so as to af- 
ford a roomy entrance to the canal from the entrance 

In the meantime, the north pier of course demanded at- 
tention. It was also found necessary to rebuild the other 
pier on the north side of the entrance channel 200 feet from 
the south pier. The original north pier, being protected by 
its big brother on the south, was of cheaper construction, 
being made of piles and crude timber work filled wtih brush 
and stone. The first appropriation, in 1826, provided for 
this north pier in its provision for "repairing an old pier." 
The work was begun promptly in 1826, but the pier being 
sheltered by the more important south pier did not need the 
care and attention given to the latter. It was probably re- 
paired and rebuilt in more substantial form than the original 
pile pier, but no records of the work appear to exist. In 
1833 the north pier was reported to be "1,250 feet long, 6oo 


feet less advanced than the mule (south pier), built parallel 
to the mole and 200 feet distant to the north. This is a tim- 
ber pier filled with stone and is 15 feet broad." [n 1882 Mr. 
C. W. Evans of Buffalo stated "that he [Evans] had let the 
contract for building the Evans Ship Canal in 183 1, that it 
was commenced in 1832 and finished in 1834; that it was 
built by the Evans estate, and that so far as he could recol- 
lect the end of the north pier then ran up to within 100 feet 
of the south end of the canal." This pier must have been a 
frail affair, and it suffered damage from storms frequently, 
in spite of the protection afforded by the south pier. 

In 1839 we find the report: "The north pier needed re- 
building, and an estimate was made to rebuild 2,400 feet at 
a cost of $5,016 by cribs 30 feet by six feet by five feet high." 

In 1842 Cant. W. G. Williams in his annual report of 
Oct. 10, 1842 (H. R. Ex. Doc), states that the north pier 
675 feet in length has been nearly destroyed and that the 
water is flowing in through a break at the eastern end." 
There are no records in regard to the rebuilding of this pier, 
but it must have been done as recommended in 1839 for a 
length of about 700 feet easterly from the outer end to about 
the west line of what is now Dock Street. Eor the re- 
mainder of the distance to the Evans Canal, about 412 feet, 
there probably remained enough of the original old pile pier 
to afford protection to the channel. This rebuilding prob- 
ably occurred later than 1842, after the severe damage re- 
ported by Capt. Williams, but only for the vital part, or 
same 700 feet. 

It is to be inferred then, that in the year 1848 the north 
pier was in a fair condition of repair, so far as needed to 
protect the channel, and that it formed with its protector, 
the south pier, a substantial entrance-channel protection. 
During this time what had been accomplished in the im- 
provement of the entrance channel? 

In 1826 it was eight feet deep. In 1832 it was proposed 
"to excavate the creek to 10 feet ; dredge off the 'elbow' 
jutting out into the creek easterly of the boundary of the 
United States lands." ( At the point now occupied by the 
Watson Elevator. ) In 1835 tms na( l evidently been accom- 


plished, and the report of the channel says : "During- the 
year 10 feet of water was obtained throughout the channel." 
Soon after this nature favored lake commerce and its in- 
terests by bringing on a period of high water level which 
prevailed from 1838 to 1848. The I O-foot channel together 
with the advantages gained by this high water appears to 
have relieved all concern as to the channel depth, and, aside 
from further work at the "elbow" and along the south pier 
to secure a greater width of channel 10 feet deep in 1845, 
the entrance channel appears to have been adequate for the 
commerce of the port, and little or no improvement work- 
was done. The arrivals and departures of vessels had grad- 
ually increased, amounting to 9,441, with a tonnage of 
3,092,427 in 1852 — ten times as great as in 1827. 

It will be seen from the foregoing that by 1850 the en- 
trance channel, its piers, and the inner harbor had taken 
practically the shape in which we find them today, though of 
course without the extensive improvements in wharves, 
warehouses, elevators, and other facilities for handling com- 
merce. The Erie Canal was in full operation. The Erie 
Basin existed as it does today (the stone breakwater form- 
ing this basin was built by the State shortly after the com- 
pletion of the canal ) ; the Blackwell or City Ship Canal was 
in existence (though afterwards twice extended until it cul- 
minated in the Tifft Farm basins in 1884). The improve- 
ments made since that time were not then required in the 
direction of making a harbor entrance, but of maintaining it 
and keeping its depth in pace with the ever-increasing size 
and draft of lake vessels. It was to this end that all further 
effort was directed. Appropriations were not always forth- 
coming when needed and often repairs were delayed by lack 
of funds, but the works were maintained in fair conditio::. 
From 1853 to 1864 no appropriations were made, except two 
small allotments in 1853 and 1855, aggregating less than 
$1,000, and during this period came the long and dreary 
years of the Civil War with its fearful drain upon the life- 
blood, energy and treasure of the nation. When these were 
happily passed, aid and attention were again directed to the 
building up and development of the "works of peace." The 


harbor of Buffalo was not overlooked, and in 1868 radical 
improvements were demanded and taken up. 

In the year 1868 the south pier was extended 318 feet, 
lakeward, from the axis of the lighthouse to check the filling 
in of the channel by the littoral drift which had "made" 
beach and shoal water by its accumulation against the south 
pier as we see it today. The north pier was also repaired, 
and in 1870 these repairs were reported completed. The 
entrance channel also required deepening to meet the de- 
mands of commerce. This deepening was accomplished in 
iSGcj-'/O and secured 14 to 15 feet of water at low stage, 
equivalent to full 16 feet at mean stage. This channel was 
maintained by a small amount of dredging in 1874 and 1876. 

The year 1876 was a sort of halting point in the Govern- 
ment's operations on the entrance channel and its protecting 
piers. All its appropriations and attention were for years 
thereafter — until 1900, to be exact — practically confined to 
the greater work of the outer breakwater, as will be shown 
later on. 

The south pier remained intact and unchanged through 
these 24 years, until in icjoo-'oi the old "towing path" or low 
part of the pier was removed and a durable and sightly con- 
crete banquette built in its place for the whole length of the 
mole, 1,425 feet. 

In 1900 the substantial and well-appointed lighthouse 
depot was built on the south side of the pier, just east of the 
Buffalo light, and preparations were made for a new life- 
saving station just east of the lighthouse depot, in place of 
the station now and for many years located at the inner end 
of the mole. During the period of 24 years the entrance 
channel ^vas looked after by the city of Buffalo, and dredged 
from time to time to secure the deeper water demanded by 
commerce. The 16-foot channel had grown to an 18-foot 
channel by 1890. and the "400- footers" which were built in 
such large numbers in the , subsequent decade found this 
channel inadequate in 1900. In that year the United States 
Government again assumed control of the entrance channel 
from the outer harbor to its junction with Buffalo Creek 
and the City Ship Canal, and dredged the channel so as to 


provide 22 feet of water at mean level and about 20 feet at 
low water. This is the channel through which now annually 
ten thousand vessels with ten millions of entering and clear- 
ing tonnage pass on their way to and from the busy wharves 
and elevators in the inner harbor. 

As we have shown, the south pier and channel have re- 
turned to the fostering care of the United States Govern- 
ment after having been left to the care of others, or to care 
for themselves largely, for nearly a quarter of a century. 

But what was the fate of the north pier? Alas! while 
the Government was striving with the seas of Lake Erie, 
trying to build an outer breakwater in spite of the angry 
protest of the lake storms, and had its eyes directed on that 
work, the north pier fell a victim to a great railroad cor- 
poration. This pier was put in repair by the Government in 
1870. It rested undisturbed until 1879, when suddenly it 
was pounced upon by a railroad corporation, and in spite of 
protests, demonstrations with United States troops, and 
pleadings, it was held fast and remains a captive to this day. 

In 187c) the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad 
Company began tilling in the low beach back of the north 
pier with a view to establishing a coal dock there. The rail- 
road company claimed that the L r nited States had no title to 
the land on which the north pier was built, and that they 
could prove a right and title in this land, and that having a 
title to the land they also owned the pier. It acted according 
to its "convictions." 

The pier as it then existed was built upon the sand bot- 
tom 10 feet below water. The railroad company wanted 18 
feet of water along the pier on which they proposed to build 
a coal-trestle with chutes for loading vessels lying alongside 
the pier. Excavating to this draught would result in toppling 
the pier into the entrance channel and leave them no founda- 
tion for their trestle. They were "convinced" that the pier 
was theirs, and consequently they could do what they pleased 
with it. They dug it out and threw it away. In its place 
they built a new pier founded on rock at a depth of 18 feet 
below water, and 720 feet long from the pier-head. The 
new pier was half done when the Government turned its 


eves on it. Protests were made, and on Oct. 29, 1879, the 
work was stopped by Government officials, and United 
States soldiers took possession by order of the Secretary of 
War to prevent further work. Then came discussions and 
parleys between the Secretary of War and the railroad com- 
pany. The latter presented their case and showed very 
plainly that they had the best of the argument as it then 
stood. Said the company's attorneys : 

"In the prosecution of this undertaking they (the rail- 
road company) have removed 500 feet of the old pier, have 
constructed to the surface of the water 315 feet, and were 
engaged with a force of more than 100 men and two dredges 
in the work, expecting to complete it this fall (having com- 
menced Oct. 2, 1879), when on the 20th inst. (November, 
1879), they were stopped by the Government officials, who 
took possession by Federal soldiers. 

"Waiving the question of legal rights for the present, 
certain practical considerations make it desirable that the 
work be continued. In the rlrst place, should it not be, it is 
probable that by the storms of the coming season the earth 
will be washed into the harbor and the spring navigation 
obstructed. Secondly, the company will sustain great pe- 
cuniary loss, and all this will be without benefit to anybody. 
If we are permitted to go on, a new pier in place of the old 
one, much better and more permanent, will be put on the 
site of the old one before the winter fairly sets in, the dam- 
ages to future navigation will be guarded against, and the 
harbor much improved. We respectfully request that such 
immediate examination be given by the Department of these 
matters (not including questions of title) as will satisfy it 
as to the facts, and that orders may be given that the rail- 
road company be not further interfered with in the prosecu- 
tion of this work, the company meantime executing such in- 
struments as may be satisfactory to you, guaranteeing that 
whatever shall be done in this behalf shall not affect the legal 

The War Department as requested immediately set about 
securing the "facts." It was found that the railroad com- 
pany had actually removed 013 feet of the pier, and desired 


to build only 107 feet more, or a total length of 720 
feet. They had a contract in force for building all of this 
pier at once, and the harbor interests required the protection 
of the pier. The company would disturb no other part of the 
pier, and would provide conveniences at or near the pier for 
a boathouse and landing for the Government officers. The 
rights of the United States in the new pier would be con- 
ceded by the company to be precisely the same as its rights 
in the old pier, unprejudiced by any action then taken. 

In view of these facts it was advisable to allow the rail- 
road company to complete the pier in accordance therewith. 
The troops were withdrawn, and the pier and coal trestle 
thereon completed, and a boathouse built for the United 
States at the corner of the dock at Coit Slip and Erie Basin, 
the foundation of the old boathouse at the pierhead being 
incorporated in the new pier. This was done under a 
written agreement dated Dec. 9, 1879, between the two in- 
terested parties. 

The pier was again in existence and performing its func- 
tions as a channel protector. Then was begun the matter of 
proving title, but the railroad company felt no great anxiety 
in that matter, so long as they held the proverbial "nine 
points" in possession, and the matter still rests in the courts. 
while the railroad company continues to enjoy its "posses- 
sion," now 21 vears old! 

Protection Works along the Lake Shore. 

The sea wall — The work of making Buffalo Creek- 
available as an inner harbor by the construction of the en- 
trance channel and its piers had scarcely been well inau- 
gurated when plans for increasing the security of the harbor 
demanded attention. Vessels in the creek, and the wharves 
and warehouses along its banks, were liable to serious injury 
from heavy seas sweeping across the narrow sand-spit which 
separated the creek from the lake, extending southward 


from the south pier. The presence of the south pier in- 
creased this danger, as it increased the liability of storm- 
driven waters of the lake to pile up in the angle which die 
pier made with the spit. The danger threatened was so ap- 
parent as to demand the consideration of the Government 
immediately after it assumed control in 1826. In 1829 Capt. 
Maurice reports: "It was also determined to construct a 
cross — or sea-wall — nearly at right angles to the eastern end 
of the mole, so as to enclose the old lighthouse and keeper's 
house, and prevent the lake from making a breach between 
these two and the mole." Moreover it was possible that the 
low sand-spit might be cut through and another river mouth 
be formed to the southward, to the detriment of the original 
one or entrance channel. This was the more to be guarded 
against, as there was even at that early day. 1829, a favored 
proposition to cut a channel from Buffalo Creek to the lake 
across the spit, from the bend in the creek where the 
Louisiana Street bridge is now located, and where the spit 
was only about 1,000 feet wide. This channel, though never 
made, was known as the "South Channel" and figured as a 
desirable proposed improvement for many years, and con- 
trolled in plans for other improvements, notably the Black- 
well or Ship Canal, the sea-wall and the outer Buffalo 

There is no definite record as to the year in which the 
decision was reached to construct the sea-wall really built 
and now in existence in a dilapidated form extending from 
the eastern end of the mole, or parapet, of the south pier 
southerly some 5,720 feet. Some few hundred feet of wall 
may have been built in 1834 to protect the old lighthouse and 
keeper's dwelling as recommended by Capt. Maurice: as to 
this records are not clear. 

In 1837 the high water level prevailing reported as "the 
increased height of the lake" (nearly three feet) brought 
forcibly to view the need of protection, and we find this re- 
port : "The whole area of Buffalo harbor and creek, in- 
cluding the entire surface from the mouth of the creek to 
the projected south channel, is less than 2S acres. If nothing 
more effectual be done to enlarge the accommodations for 


vessels, it will soon be necessary to construct a wall upon 
the beach or lake side of the peninsula ( spit) about one mile 
in length at a cost of about $40,000 . . . and the wall 
in front of the Government land must be completed at a cost 
of about $8,000. "* 

In 1838 an appropriation of 848,000 was made specifi- 
cally "for erecting a mound or sea-wall along the peninsula 
at Buffalo, X. \Y\ and the construction of the sea-wall was 
begun in the same year. 

Capt. W. G. Williams, Topographical Engineer, United 
States Army, officer in charge, reports in 1838: "During 
the year 1,900 feet of the mound was three parts finished, of 
the facing wall 400 feet was raised to nine feet, viz. : within 
three feet of the completed height, and 250 feet was raised 
to five feet. This has an average width at base of 4^ feet. 
The sea-wall consists of an earth mound with masonry fac- 
ing, running from the end of the wall enclosing the light- 

* Among miscellaneous documents preserved by the Buffalo Historical 
Society is found the following "Copy of a Petition to the Secretary of War in 
relation to the Sea Wall in 1837": 

''To the Hon. the Secretary of War: — The undersigned, a Committee of 
the Common Council of the City of Buffalo, appointed to communicate with the 
War Department and to solicit therefrom assistance in counteracting the effects 
of the elements which are now rapidly working the destruction of Buffalo 
Harbor, respectfully submit the following facts and solicitations: 

"Buffalo Harbor is about a mile and a half long and is nearly parallel to 
the Lake Shore, with a low peninsula between them, varying in width from 60 
to 90 rods. The surface of this peninsula is sand; the substratum clay. On 
its extreme point stand the Bier and Light House built by the United States. 
For a few years past the lake has been constantly rising, so that in gales this 
narrow strip of land is completely inundated and the swells pass unbroken over 
it with such force as to endanger every vessel in the Harbor. The effect of 
this frequent inundation lias so far been to wear away the lake shore and lower 
the surface of the peninsula by sweeping into the harbor the sand of which it 
is composed; and this operation has been going on with great rapidity for the 
last three years. During the recent gale (22nd Nov.) immense damage was 
done. The shore was washed away for a considerable distance, much of the 
loose soil on the peninsula removed, deep channels worn in the hard earth, the 
United States pier so injured as to require prompt repair, the shipping driven 
out of the Harbor into the middle of our streets, the wharves and storehouses 
greatly damaged, and several lives lost. 

"The peninsula is now too low to protect the Harbor from the swells of the 
lake, in anything more than a moderate blow, and every appearance indicates the 
speedy removal of the earth which still remains. When this happens, and 
happen it soon must, unless measures are speedily taken to prevent it. there will 


house lot and parallel to the shore, 200 feet from it to the 
southward, to protect that part of the city from inundation. 
The top of the mound is 14 feet above the surface of the 
water." This was the beginning of the construction of the 
sea-wall proper. It was completed for a length of 2,320 feet 
in 1839. In 1840 "the sea-wall was extended 1,450 feet, and 
did good service in a gale in which the lake rose six feet 
eight inches above the normal stage." 

Then came the halt in operations owing to no appropria- 
tions of funds. In 1845 we mK ^ tms report: "The violent 
storm of October, 1844, overthrew much of the sea-wall,, and 
it was found necessary to change the plan of construction, 
giving it a cross-section at the base of 18 feet, carried up five 
feet, and then stepped in iVj. feet at regular heights until it 
had a top width of two feet with a one-foot coping." 

The sea-wall apparently remained in the condition in 
which this storm left it until 1866. In the meantime, steps 

.be no Harbor at Buffalo, the money expended by the United Stales in building 
the Pier and Light House will be lost, and there will be no connection, what- 
ever, between the navigation of this lake and the Erie Canal. Indeed, the en- 
lire commerce of the whole chain of Western lakes will have no harbor what- 
ever at their northern extremity, the only point through which they now con- 
nect with the Atlantic coast. At this time all the Steam Boats (more than one 
hundred in number), together with all the ships, brigs and schooners on the 
Lakes, have no other resort than Buffalo Harbor for business or shelter at the 
jiorth end of Lake Erie, and through no other point than P>urT«do can they con- 
nect their business with the Erie Canal. In case of war with England the loss 
of this Harbor would be to the Government an incalculable injury. 

'"L'nder these circumstances the Common Council have thought proper to 
make to the War Department a plain statement of facts, having the fullest con- 
fidence that nothing further will be necessary to ensure the prompt and vigorous 
action of that Department, to secure with the least possible delay this all-im- 
portant harbor. Another year may destroy it entirely. 

"The ground has been viewed by practical engineers who are of opinion 
that at a moderate expense a sea-wall can be constructed, beginning at the 
present United States Pier and running up the peninsula parallel to the lake 
shore, of sufficient height and strength to serve as a perfect protection. 

"For the purpose of getting such a wall constructed, or some other equally 
good protection, the Common Council are about to petition to Congress for an 
appropriation. Preparatory to an action of Congress on this subject it is earn- 
estly desired that you will be pleased to direct the necessary surveys and esti- 
mates to be made, by engineers in the service of the Government, at the earliest 
possible day, that the subject may be acted on before the close of the present 
session. Not the least doubt is entertained that such a statement of facts will 
be presented by the engineers as to secure the influence of your department with 
Congress in inducing them to speedily make the necessary appropriation." 


were taken to secure title to the land upon which this then 
important harbor work was being built. Under date of 
May 2, 1804, the Legislature of the State of Xew York 
passed an act authorizing the City of Buffalo "to lav out, 
make, and open a public ground in said city 130 feet wide 
along the shore or margin of Lake Erie, for the purpose of 
maintaining thereon and protecting a sea-wall or break- 
water."* This act, briefly, authorized the city to take the 
private property along the line of the sea-wall, built or to be 
built, from the southeast end of the United States land to the 
north side of the so-called South Channel for a width of 130 
feet, and that after such property should be acquired the city 
might deed it in part or in whole to the United States, on 
condition "that the United States shall maintain and keep 
in repair en said land the said sea-wall or breakwater. Xo 
dwelling-house, warehouse, shop, barn, shed or other build- 
ing shall be erected upon, moved on to, or permitted to re- 
main upon the land mentioned." The design was at this 
time to continue the sea-wall to the "South Channel," which 
would have given it a total length of about 7,000 feet. 

In 1866, 1,303 feet were built, and in 1867 the sea-wall 
was reported "4,081 feet built with coping, 1,319 feet with- 
out coping, and foundation laid, without anything above it, 
for 321 feet more, leaving about 1.020 feet of the original 
design upon which nothing was done." The further exten- 
sion of this wall does not appear to have been required at 
that time. 

With the exception of some very minor repairs, no fur- 
ther work was done on the sea-wall. The construction was 
ordered stopped by the Chief of Engineers in 1867, and in 
1 87 1 a balance of some $24,000 of sea-wall funds was re- 
appropriated and applied to other works. The total amount 
expended on the sea-wall was $103,305.96. 

The sea-wall as built above the foundation reached a 
point about 400 feet south of South Michigan Street, and it 
is still in existence, though wrecked in many places where 
the "squatters," whose squalid huts line the wall, have 

* Lent's of .V. }'., 87 S?s>. Chap. 547, p. 1200, on file in Law Library at 
Buffalo, X. Y.. with tracing of map. 


robbed it of its stone for building purposes. The provision 
of the legislative act that no buildings should be built on the 
land acquired by the city was grossly neglected, as die 
squatter settlement thereon now testifies. 

The abandonment of the sea-wall construction was de- 
cided upon advisedly by the Government. Plans for an 
outer breakwater and harbor had become well developed and 
decided upon, and a greater outer breakwater would afford 
all of the protection gained by the sea-wall and much more. 
There were evidently persons and interests, however, who 
regarded the stoppage of further sea-wall construction by 
the United States Government with misgivings. This is 
evidenced by a second legislative enactment under date of 
May 14, 1870, in general intent identical with the act of May 
2, 1864, except that it provided that "such public ground 
may be of such width and may extend for such distance 
along the shore or margin of such lake within said city as 
the said Common Council may deem expedient," instead of 
defining the land to be acquired as in the first act. Also, 
"the said lands shall be and remain a public grounds for the 
purposes of protecting the harbor of said city and the lands 
adjacent thereto from the encroachment of said lake, and 
the said Common Council may at any time thereafter erect 
and maintain thereon or on any part thereof a sea-wall or 

The strip of land whose acquirement by the city was au- 
thorized by the two legislative enactments referred to was 
actually acquired from the north line of outlot 36, the 
rToundary of United States property at the south pier, to the 
proposed "South Channel/' and 130 feet wide. Xone of the 
land was ever deeded to the United States, probably because 
the United States plainly showed its intention to abandon 
the sea-wall by actually beginning the construction of the 
outer breakwater in 1868. This tangible proof of intention 
allayed all fears as to the safety of the harbor, as the break- 
water structure progressed, for the Common Council was 
never called upon "to erect or maintain a sea-wall" as pro- 
vided by the act of 1870. The land is known as the "sea- 
wall strip" ; and in this year of 1902, the city, thrpugn a 


harbor commission duly appointed, is striving to clear its 
apparently clouded title to this strip, with a view to convert- 
ing it into a grand lake-front street now desirable and neces- 
sary for the development of dock facilities in the outer har- 
bor, whose shore line yet lies in an entirely unimproved con- 
dition and presents to the eye the same stretch of barren 
beach that greeted the eyes of the pioneers of Buffalo. * 

The saxd-catch pier. — The sea-wall was the only work 
of real importance erected for the protection of the harbor 
during its existence prior to the final culmination in the con- 
struction of the great outer breakwater. There were other 
works proposed, however, aiming to remedy an evil which - 
came after the construction of the south pier. This was the 
accumulation of sand and littoral drift on the beach south of 
the pier, and stopped in its course towards Niagara River 
by the pier. In time the beach extended outward, shoal 
water formed around the head of the pier, and during 
storms the sands accumulated on these shoals were carried 
into the entrance channel. 

Catch-sand piers or jetties of tight sheet piling were sug- 
gested, distributed along the beach as far as the proposed 
South Channel, ijA miles from the pier, to arrest and hold 
the moving sands. 

In i8f>7 a Board of Engineers, convened to formulate 
plans for improving Buffalo harbor, proposed among other 
improvements "to open a canal 2.820 feet long and 200 feet 
wide from 14 feet of water in the lake to 14 feet of water in 
Buffalo Creek, at a point I y 2 miles south of the lighthouse 
pier [the site of the long proposed 'South Channel'], with 

* It is also to be noted that the Legislature of the State by an act passed in 
April, 189S, authorized the City of Buffalo "to use or occupy" the sea-wall strip 
presumably for such public purposes as it saw fit. It was formerly owned and 
controlled by tlu city only for "the specific purpose of "maintaining and pro- 
tecting a sea-wall or breakwater alon^ the shore or margin of Lake Krie." It 
can now be used for the purposes of a grand highway along the splendid pro- 
tected outer harbor which has heen built by the General Government. Such a 
highway is a necessity to the proper development and use of the harbor, and it 
seems almost providential that the land for it should have been acquired for it 
in the early days. 


two close pile piers 20 feet wide and five feet above water, 
one 1,058 and the other 1,000 feet in length, to protect the 
channel from the shore [lake] to the 14-foot curve." These 
tight piers would serve the double purpose of protecting a 
new harbor entrance and of checking the sand movement 
towards the south pier and entrance channel. The Board's 
proposal was not approved by the Chief of Engineers. In 
1869, Major Harwood, then officer in charge, advocated 
changes in the plan proposed by the board to the effect that 
"the new channel should be at right angles to the stone line, 
and that from the end of the South Channel pier an exten- 
sion should be built at an angle to the direction of the 
heaviest seas for 500 feet, the outer end resting in 20 feet of 

Again in 1873 the same officer reported that the con- 
tinued accretion of sand along the shore and pier south of 
the lighthouse made it advisable to build the south pier of 
the proposed South Channel as a means of stopping the How 
of sand to the southward. The matter was considered of 
sufficient import to refer to another board of engineers, 
which was convened in i873~'4. This board recommended 
the construction of a pile pier 10 feet wide and six feet above 
water, commencing at a point 550 feet south of the proposed 
south pier of the South Channel, connected by piling with 
the railroad bulkhead on the shore at that locality, and ex- 
tending out to the 12-foot depth in the lake; thence pro- 
longed by crib work 20 feet wide and six feet above water to 
make a total length of pier of 1,270 feet. The board also 
reported: "It is expected that other jetties of slight con- 
struction, not to exceed 300 feet in length, may be needed 
at different points between the site of the one now proposed 
and the south United States pier, to arrest the transfer of 
sand and prevent abrasion of the beach during the period in 
which covering-works (meaning the breakwater) are in pro- 
cess of construction." 

The same board reconvened later in 1874, August and 
September, and changed their location for the proposed 
sand-catch pier "to a point on the shore line opposite to the 
south end of the I>lackwell Canal." The canal at this time 


ended at the location of the proposed South Channel. This 
board also recommended that "the old South Channel, ap- 
proved in the project of the board of iSf)8, should not be 
built by the Government as it is purely a matter of local in- 

The construction of the sand-catch pier recommended by 
the board was begun in the fall of 1874, 650 feet being built 
that year. In 1875, 220 feet were added, making the pier 
870 feet long. As it was found, however, that no sand was 
arrested by it, its construction was stopped. This sand- 
catch pier exists today. In 1897 lt xvas further extended to 
a total length of 1,148 feet, to comply with a special pro- 
vision of the Act of Congress appropriating money for Buf- 
falo harbor in 1896. It has not, however, proved useful in 
any way. and the lake beach being now protected by the 
breakwater, the sand-catch pier has lost all value as a harbor 
work, and all kindred piers or jetties if built would now 
serve no useful purpose. 

At the same time that the sand-catch pier was begun in 
1874, an experimental jetty of piles and plank was built ex- 
tending 400 feet into the lake, at a point about 900 feet 
north of South Michigan Street. It stood a few months, 
long enough to demonstrate its uselessness, and was carried 
away by winter storms in 1875. 


The Breakwaters and Outer Harbor. 

It is apparent from the perusal of the foregoing account 
of the Government's operations for improving Buffalo har- 
bor, that it had a fixed purpose and confidence in its purpose, 
to overcome all of the menaces to the safety of the harbor by 
constructing a barrier against all destructive seas of Lake 
Erie in the form of a great breakwater well out from die 
^hore line, so as to afford at the same time a roomy outer 
harbor and anchorage ground between it and the shore 
which it would so effectually protect. 

The desirability of an outer harbor for Buffalo was earlv 


recognized, and this could only he secured through the 
medium of a breakwater so located and built as to cut oft a 
portion of the lake in which ships could find safe anchorage 
or moorings and which could be reached under any condi- 
tions of weather. As the Buffalo breakwater is one of the 
great breakwaters of the world, it is well to have a clear 
understanding of what a breakwater is, and what, from an 
engineering standpoint, the building of such a structure as 
the Buffalo breakwater implies. 

A breakwater is a structure of any kind which serves to 
break the force of the waves and protect a harbor or anchor- 
age against them. Some of the greatest and most difficult 
engineering works ever conceived and carried out by man 
have been breakwaters, and they have been constructed with 
a great variety of forms and materials. When an engineer 
is called upon to construct a breakwater at any particular 
harbor, he must decide a number of important questions. 

First, as to location. This is largely a matter of judg- 
ment in which is involved the character and amount of the 
commerce of the port both 'present and future, the depths of 
water, the funds available, etc. It is rare that a breakwater 
is built in the location first selected for it, unless it is built at 
once. In the course of time new conditions are constantly 
being developed which bring about modifications in plans. 

Second, as to the character of the structure. In deciding 
upon this the engineer must consider whether the break- 
water is to be used simply to cover an anchorage, or to serve 
for mooring purposes, or as a wharf for loading and un- 
loading passengers and goods. He must be governed largely 
by the character of materials available, by the depth of 
water, the force and violence of storms to which it will be 
exposed, and the character of the foundation on which it 
must be built. The method of carrying on the work will 
depend on the prevailing conditions of the sea and weather, 
and whether the structure abuts on the shore or is detached 

One of the simplest types of breakwater is that at Port- 
land, England. This is about 8,000 feet long, and consists 
simply of a mound of rubble stone and cost about $(),ooo,ooo, 


or $750 per foot. The breakwater at Plymouth, England, is 
similar to that at Portland, but 011 account of its greater ex- 
posure it has been found necessary to cover the top above 
low tide with granite block-paving of huge stones set in 
mortar. This structure is 5,100 feet long, and has cost about 
$8,000,000, or nearly $1,600 per foot. 

Jn our country the Delaware breakwater is of somewhat 
similar construction. The old breakwater there is simply a 
mound of stone constantly added to until it has reached a 
condition approaching stability. The new breakwater being 
built there is formed of a rubble mound up to low water ; 
above this are great stones set carefully in place on horizon- 
tal beds. This has just been finished, and by the same con- 
tractors who are building the big breakwater. Rubble 
mound breakers are often capped with huge concrete blocks, 
and sometimes covered on the exposed side with these blocks. 
Those at Algiers, Port Said, and Alexandria are of this 

Many breakwaters have been built which consist of a 
rubble mound coming up to about low water surmounted by 
a structure of masonry in place arranged for the transit of, 
or loading and unloading of, persons and goods. This su- 
perstructure, by extending well above high water, gives 
more complete protection to the water area which it covers. 
Probably the most celebrated breakwater of this type is at 
Cherbourg, France. It is 11.880 feet long, has a gun battery 
at each end and one in the middle, was 70 years in building 
and cost about $13,000,000, or about $1,100 per foot. There 
are many structures of this general type, among which may 
be mentioned Holyhead, Alderney, Marseilles, Genoa, Bastia 
and Boulogne. 

Another type which has developed of late years finds its 
most noted illustration at Colombo, Island of Ceylon. After 
passing through various contingencies and being modi- 
fied as experience dictated, the form of construction at last 
adopted was to build a rubble mound to a depth of 20 feet 
and upon this to raise a superstructure 50 feet wide at the 
base and about 35 feet high, all formed of huge concrete 
blocks set in place on sloping beds. There are a number of 


other very interesting examples of breakwaters, built mostly 
of concrete blocks, and there is every probability that here- 
after concrete will be used more and more for breakwater 

In the early days of the nineteenth century, when the 
necessity for breakwaters at some of the lake harbors became 
recognized, the only ones in existence were in the older coun- 
tries of the world, and those were of stone and masonry, 
costing from S500 to $1,500 and over per foot. Such ex- 
pensive structures were beyond the financial resources of our 
people at the time. With true American adaptiveness, how- 
ever, another type was designed of far less cost which has 
been extensively built en the lakes and has done good serv- 
ice. This was a timber crib filled with rubble stone. The 
abundance and cheapness of timber, and the fact that the 
fresh waters of the Great Lakes are free from the teredo and 
other marine destroyers justified structures of this character. 

The era of cheap timber is now about over. Our re- 
sources are greater, quarrying and transportation of stone 
are now vastly less expensive than formerly, and concrete 
made with our excellent and cheap American cements, have 
all combined to declare the days of perishable wooden break- 
waters about at an end. We can still, however, with perfect 
propriety, if circumstances demand it, build a breakwater 
with wooden and stone substructure, for in the fresh waters 
of the lakes submerged timber is practically imperishable, as 
far as decay is concerned. 

In the Government records of Buffalo harbor, the first 
official mention of an outer breakwater was in 1835 m a re ~ 
port of the officer in charge, recommending a breakwater to 
the north of the entrance and extending to Bird Island. In 
this year Lt! T. S. Brown, Top. Engr., made a survey of 
Buffalo and Black Rock harbors, with a view to constructing 
an outer harbor suitable for commerce. The project was 
"to continue the Black Rock breakwater from Bird Island 
(its then terminus) to the southward to a point 1,000 feet 
north of the new lighthouse." ( The Buffalo light on the end 


of the south pier.) This was to be a breakwater of crib- 
work rilled with stone. 

Again, in 1839, a survey was made and another plan for 
a breakwater north of the harbor entrance was proposed, 
"from a point 500 feet north and 30 feet east of the outer end 
of the mole (south pier), when extended into 23 feet of 
water, and carry it down 330 yards towards Bird Island at 
Black Rock in from 10 to 25 feet of water." 

In 1884 a modification of the plan brought out in 1839 
was recommended by Col. Abert, who advised "a breakwater 
at the Horseshoe Reef about 2,650 feet from the northern 
shore ; the breakwater to be 3,700 feet in length, its outward 
end 2,100 feet from Black Rock pier, and its eastern end at 
about 800 feet from a proposed extension of the present 
south pier. . . . This would give a harbor 7,400 feet 
long, 2, too feet wide, with 14 to 20 feet of water. . . ." 

In October, 1844, a violent storm overthrew much of the 
sea-wall. This emphasized the importance of providing 
harbor protection more adequate than that provided by the 
sea-wall, and a board of engineers was appointed to decide 
on a project for an outer breakwater. This board proposed 
two projects: I. "A detached breakwater 5,100 feet long to 
the north of the lighthouse pier, its southern end 2,200 feet 
west of the end of the lighthouse pier, the north end about 
2,800 feet from the shore . . ." 2. "A detached break- 
water south of the lighthouse pier, 6,050 feet in length, the 
north end of which would be 2,500 feet s. s. w. of the end 
of the lighthouse pier, and the south end about 3,600 feet 
from shore . . . " The board recommended the south- 
ern breakwater as being the more suitable, but stated that it 
might become necessary at some future day either to build 
the northern one, extend the southern one to Four-mile 
Point (Stony Point), or connect its southern end with the 
shore, so as to protect the proposed south channel 
In these projects for a breakwater north of the channel en- 
trance, the influence of Black Rock, the former rival of Buf- 
falo, was still apparent, and also the influence of the im- 
portant Erie Canal interests. The Erie Basin and the stone 
breakwater which forms it did not exist in 1845. They were 


built several years later, after 1850, being part of a plan de- 
vised by the State Canal Hoard to connect Black Rock Har- 
bor with Buffalo Creek, through the Erie Basin ; a plan 
probably decided upon when it was found that the United 
States was in favor of building its breakwater to the south 
of the entrance channel. 

It may be noted here that the views of the United States 
Board of Engineers as above cited were a true prophecy. 
The south breakwater has been extended to "Four-mile 
Point" (Stony Point), and a north breakwater has been 
built on approximately the site recommended by the board. 
The realization came 50 years later. But 2$ years were to 
elapse after the report of the engineer before a breakwater 
structure was to be commenced, 23 very eventful years dur- 
ing some of which the Government had all it could do to 
preserve its integrity, and the enormous expenses of the 
Civil War left it nothing to expend on rivers and harbors. 

During those 2$ years the commerce of Buffalo grew 
very much. Tn 1835, when the subject of a breakwater was 
first officially mentioned, the vessels entering and leaving 
Buffalo numbered 3,280. In 1845 this number had increased 
to about 4,500, and from that time on it jumped with greater 
strides. In 1856 the number of entrances and clearances 
was 8,128, and in the next six years, to 1862, it doubled, 
being in that year 16,390. This was the high water mark as 
far as numbers went, and it is worth remembering that it 
meant during the season of navigation an average daily ar- 
rival of 34 ships, and the departure of a like number. Erom 
1862 the number of arrivals and clearances gradually de- 
creased, but at the same time the average size of the vessels 
increased with still greater rapidity, so that at the present 
time. 1902, the number of arrivals and clearances is about 
two thirds of what it was in 1862, while the total tonnage of 
the vessels is nearly three times as great. 

The old breakwater. — In 1868, the Civil War being 
over, the Government again took up the work of improving 
its rivers and harbors, and the breakwater at Buffalo was 
commenced. A board of engineers in that year formulated a 
project "to construct a detached breakwater in about 2~ feet 


of water, commencing at a point 2,500 feet from the light- 
house and on the prolongation of the lighthouse pier, and 
running southerly 4,000 feet on a course generally parallel 
with the shore line. This was to be of timber crib-work 
about 36 feet wide, tilled with stone, with superstructure 
carried five feet above the highest water known. The 
board's project was approved, and the construction of what 
is now known as the old breakwater, the section beginning 
at the south side of the entrance to Buffalo Creek, was be- 
gun. By June, i86<j. 150 feet of cribs had been placed, and 
the construction progressed with fair rapidity and few mis- 
haps, until a gale in September, 1872, displaced some 315 
feet of incomplete crib-work. The completed breakwater 
was then 2,400 feet long, and afforded fair protection to the 
entrance channel between the piers. 

Then followed encounters with difficulties and misfor- 
tunes from storms. The lake bottom was found to have 
changed from solid gravel to soft clay, necessitating much 
extra labor and expense in securely founding the cribs. The 
misplaced cribs could not be straightened, and formed the 
irregular part of the structure known as "the ice-breaker. ,v 
In i873-'4 a board of engineers was convened to devise plans 
for overcoming the difficulties encountered, and at the same 
time it modified the project for a detached breakwater 4.000 
feet long and recommended that it be extended "3,600 feet 
on the same line, giving a total length of 7,600 feet, from its 
southern end, and leaving a fine-weather opening of 15a 
feet; a shore arm should be run, at an angle of 45 degrees 
to the shore line, until it reached the sand-catch pier pro- 
longed to meet it." This modification of the project was 
approved, and the construction went on from year to year. 
The main part of the structure was completed. 7.608 feet 
long, in 1S93, a quarter of a century after beginning the 

The whole structure was built of hemlock timber cribs 
covered with white pine timber superstructure, all filled with 
stone. The crib-work under water is practically inde- 
structible, so far as decay is concerned, but the superstruc- 
ture, after about 2D years of exposure to weather, becomes. 


weak and shows serious decay. Before the south end was 
completed, therefore, the north end had "lived its life" and 
required rebuilding above water level. This rebuilding be- 
came imperative in 1 883, but new conditions presented them- 
selves. The cost of white pine had advanced greatly, and 
the cost of Portland cement concrete was fast being reduced 
by the rapidly increasing production of cement. A concrete 
superstructure would be practically indestructible. The con- 
ditions were carefully weighed, and Capt. F. A. Mahan, then 
officer in charge, recommended a new superstructure built 
of concrete. His recommendation was approved by a board 
of engineers, and the result was that 1,900 feet at the north 
end of the breakwater was rebuilt with a solid concrete 
superstructure in 1889, the first structure of its kind built on 
the Great Lakes, if not in the United States. 

In 1 89 1 another 1,900 feet of the old wornout timber 
superstructure was replaced with solid concrete, and in 1899- 
1900 a length of 1,015 feet. The "ice breaker" section be- 
tween the 1, 900- foot sections before mentioned, was rebuilt 
with concrete, not solid, but of the shell construction de- 
scribed further on in this paper. ' This placed two thirds of 
the length of the old breakwater in permanent form, and 
before many years the remaining third will be placed in the 
same permanent condition. 

In 1893. 800 feet of the proposed shore arm at the south- 
ern end of the old breakwater was built complete and 300 
feet more partially built. All was hopelessly wrecked by a 
great storm in October, 1893. In this disaster the weak 
character of the lake bottom played an important part, just 
as it did in 1872. We have the old saying, "It's an ill wind 
that blows nobody good." The sequel to this great wind- 
storm proves the saying true, in this instance at least. The 
wrecking of the shore arm led to important results, and 
secured for Buffalo a greater harbor. The growth of com- 
merce and crowded condition of the inner harbor had by ibis 
time, 1893. brought commercial interests to the conviction 
that the outer harbor as being formed was too small. The 
building of the shore arm brought regret, as it put in the 
remote future all prospects for the consummation of the 


longed-for greater harbor extending to Stony Point. After 
the wrecking, hope revived, and the commercial interests 
combined in urging the Government to change its project 
and give Buffalo the outer harbor it needed. The appeal 
was heeded, and a board of engineers convened in 1895 t0 
consider and decide the matter. The board decided "that the 
breakwater should be extended all the way to Stony Point." 
Buffalo was at last to have her greater outer harbor. The 
report of the board was made just before one of the authors 
of this paper* took charge of the harbor works in October, 

The board of engineers recommended the construction 
of a breakwater, or rather a system of breakwaters, extend- 
ing from the southern end of the old breakwater to Stony 
Point. They were to be four in number, en echelon, with 
openings between them of approximately 400 feet. In con- 
struction they were to be simple mounds of rubble stone 
brought to about eight feet above the water level. A strong 
foundation was to be secured by dredging the mud of the 
lake bottom down to the rock, and filling the trench so made 
with gravel or sand. The plans as made by the board of 
engineers appeared to Major Symons to be defective in 
several important particulars, and he called attention to these 
defects in a report, and proposed remedies. 

• First. They restricted too greatly and unnecessarily the 
deep water area inside them. To remedy this it was pro- 
posed to build the breakwater farther out in the lake, in the 
location now occupied by the breakwater, giving an addi- 
tional area inside it of 130 acres, all of water about 30 feet 

Second. The numerous openings were not necessary 
for circulation of water in the harbor or for convenience of 
navigation, and they were a detriment in that they permitted 
the waves to enter the harbor, and so lessen the protection 
given to the waters behind the structures. To remedy this it 
was proposed to build the structure with but one main 
opening near its southern end, and a small opening at the 
northern end for the use of tugs and small vessels. 

* Major T. W. Symons, Corps of Engineers, U. S. A. 


Third. The form of cross-section given to the rubble 
mound, a simple heap of stones, was not satisfactory. Ex- 
perience elsewhere had shown, and it was recognized by the 
board, that such a heap of stones would be constantly dis- 
turbed and washed down by the waves, and would require 
constant additions to be made to it to keep it up to the de- 
sired height, and that with these additions and under the in- 
fluence of storm action, the mound would gradually reach 
what would be a section of permanent stability. This sec- 
tion of permanent stability was known — why not adopt it 
and build to its lines in the first place? This was recom- 
mended, and it was further recommended that the top. the 
lake face to a depth of 15 feet, and the harbor face to a depth 
of 10 feet, be covered with large selected stones carefully set 
in place to the lines of this section of stability. 

Fourth. The excavation of the mud bottom of the 
lake and back filling the trench so made with gravel for a 
foundation for a rubble mound did not appeal to Major 
Symons as necessary. Equally good results, and at far less 
cost, it was believed, could be attained by founding the stone 
structure directly upon the natural mud bottom and let- 
ting it settle down into the mud as much as it would. By 
doing the work in proper continuity all danger of unequal 
settlement could be guarded against. This was recom- 
mended, and it may be stated here that in making the esti- 
mates of cost, an allowance was made for an average settle- 
ment of the structure into the mud of about \2)A feet. As a 
matter of fact it has settled into the mud but about two or 
three feet. 

Fifth. The plan of the board called for the entire struc- 
ture to be made of quarried stone, in conformity with uni- 
versally prevailing custom. This was very expensive and 
prohibitive of the new plan which must not exceed the old 
plan in cost. To meet this situation, it was decided that 
while stone was necessary on the outside of the structure, it 
was not necessary on the inside, and this inside, the great 
mass or hearting of the mound, could be made of some 
cheaper material, as gravel, quantities of which were known 
to be available. This was recommended and adopted, and it 


may be stated here that the contract price for stone is about 
$i per cubic yard, while the gravel hearting costs 13 cents 
per yard. This represents a saving of about S50 per foot of 
the breakwater. The gravel hearting is protected from wave 
action by its depth and by the stone which encloses it on the 
top and sides. This design, which I believe has never before 
been adopted in breakwater construction, has been eminently 

Sixth. One serious defect of any rubble-stone break- 
water is that it does not afford facilities for mooring ships. 
This is important at Buffalo, as many ships and consorts are 
constantly moored at the breakwater during the period of 
navigation. To meet this demand it was considered that the 
old breakwater, 7,600 feet long, would furnish all the moor- 
ing facilities required at the northern end of the harbor, and 
that if there were provided at the southern end of the harbor 
several thousand feet of breakwater adapted to mooring pur- 
poses, the demand in this respect would be fully met. 

It was recommended to build about 5,600 feet of timber 
crib breakwater similar to the old structure, about half on 
each side of the main southern entrance. To provide suit- 
able foundation for this timber crib structure, it was recom- 
mended that a trench be dug to the solid rock and back-tilled 
with gravel. The new breakwater, therefore, was to be of 
stone and gravel for 7.250 feet of its length, and of timber 
crib filled with stone for the remaining 5,000 feet. 

The estimated cost of the breakwater proposed was not 
greater than the estimated cost of the vastly inferior works 
proposed by the board of engineers, and all of Major 
Symons's recommendations were approved by the Chief of 
Engineers and the War Department. 

The River and Harbor Act of June 3, 1806, contained 
the following item : 

Improving harbor at Buffalo, New York : Improvement by ex- 
tending the breakwater southerly to Stony Point: Provided, That 
contracts may be entered into by the Secretary of War for such 
materials and work as may be necessary to earn- out such extension 
and the plan of such improvement as modified in the report of the 
Chief of Engineers for the improvement of that harbor for 1S95, 


such contracts to provide that the sand-catch pier be extended to the 
bulkhead line, at a cost hot exceeding $35,000, and that the northerly 
section of said extension to Stony Point and the sand-catch pier ex- 
tension shall first be constructed, to he paid for as appropriations 
may from time to time be made by law. in the aggregate not to ex- 
ceed $2,200,coo: And provided further, That in making such con- 
tracts the Secretary of War shall not obligate the Government to 
pay in any one fiscal year, beginning July 1st, 1897, more than 25 per 
centum of the whole amount authorized to be expended. 

The merits and needs of Buffalo had at last received full 
recognition, and her greater outer harbor was assured to her. 
Plans and specifications were at once prepared for the great 
work, and a contract made for the whole work with Hughes 
Bros. & Bangs of Syracuse, X. Y. Under this contract 
5,000 feet of the breakwater extending southerly from the 
small entrance off the south end of the old breakwater was 
to be of the rubble mound or stone type, and in continuation 
thereof there was to be about 5,000 feet of timber crib break- 
water, the two forming what is now known as the South 
Harbor section, about 10,000 feet long. This would bring 
the breakwater to the south harbor entrance fioo feet wide. 
Beginning at the south side of this entrance there was to be 
a timber crib breakwater about 2,8co feet long, to the shore 
at Stony Point. This is now known as the Stony Point 

The contractors began the construction in May, 1897, 
and the work has continued uninterruptedly, except during 
the winter, up to the present time. The Stony Point section 
was completed on June 30, 1899. The timber portion of the 
South Harbor section was completed on October 30, 1900, 
for a length of about 2.800 feet. The length of this portion 
as projected was reduced 2,000 feet, it having been found 
advisable in 1898 to increase the length of the stone, or 
rubble mound, construction by this amount, making it about 
7,000 feet long instead of 5,000 feet. The rubble mound, or 
stone, breakwater has been completed for 4,000 feet, and 
will be wholly completed in 1903. 

Breakwater to stony point. — There is one thing of 
interest attaching to this work which concerns the great in- 


clustry — the Lackawanna Steel Company's plant — estab- 
lished at Stony Point. It will be noted that the act author- 
izing- the work required among other things "that the north- 
erly section of said extension to Stony Point 
shall first be constructed." This was put in for certain rea- 
sons unnecessary to specify here. It stood directly in the 
way of the proper and most economical conduct of the work, 
as it was desired to carry on at the same time the work of 
building both types of breakwater, the stone, or rubble 
mound, and the timber crib. To build the latter, it was 
necessary to commence at the shore at Stony Point. In 
every way it was desirable to commence at both ends and 
work towards the center. But the law seemed to prohibit 
this, and it was necessary to devise some way to get around 
the law. Fortunately, there was on hand a balance of an 
old appropriation which was available for the work and 
which had no such annoying restrictions on it. It was rec- 
ommended and approved that this balance be used in starting* 
the work at Stony Point. This was dene, and the work 
thereafter kept up with the regular appropriations. The 
Stony Point section was in consequence completed several 
years before it would have been, had a strict and literal in- 
terpretation of the law been complied with. This Stony 
Point section in itself forms a beautiful and well-protected 
harbor, and it was in consequence of this good and available 
harbor that the Lackawanna Steel Company decided to lo- 
cate their great works in Buffalo and at Stony Point. 

As these two types of breakwater possess unique features, 
a brief description of the details may be of interest. 

The Stone, or Rubble Mound, Brcakzvatcr. — In building' 
the rough stone, or rubble mound, breakwater, the first thing 
dene is to deposit from dump scows two rows of small stone 
along the lake and harbor foot of the slopes of the mound as 
it will be when completed. This stone is not allowed to be 
over a foot in any dimension, and has been so prescribed 
because it has been found that a paving of small stone tends 
to prevent larger stone from settling far into the mud. in 
fact, acts as a mattress. These rows, which are 135 feet 
apart, "from out to out/' are brought up by ordinary rubble- 


stone to a height of about six feet, and the space between 
them is then tilled nearly to their tops with gravel dug out 
of the Niagara River and transported in and dumped from 
dump scows. ( )ther rows of stone are then deposited to the 
established grade lines and the space between partially filled 
with gravel as before. This is kept up until the gravel 
reaches an elevation 10 feet below water level ; above this 
no gravel is used. Everything above this I o-foot level is 
heavy stone put in place by derricks. 

When the lake side reaches an elevation of 18 feet and 
the harbor side of 10 feet below water, an off-set is made for 
the foot of the large capping-stones which cover the mound 
like a huge pavement. These capping-stones are uniformly 
six feet thick, quarried so as to lit together like huge paving- 
stones. They vary in size and weigh from three to 14 tons 
each, averaging about seven tons. All are quarried at Wind- 
mill Point, Canada, from the thick strata of flint limestone 
found there. The rubble portion is then built up to above 
the water line, approximately to the grade required for the 
placing of the capping-stones. The beds for the capping- 
stones are made with small stone, and they are set with 
powerful derricks and guided into place by men feeling with 
rods and observing them through water telescopes. In this 
way the covering of the great stones is slowly brought up 
to the water surface after which the placing proceeds more 
easily and rapidly until the whole is completed. 

Allusion has been made to the gravel hearting as a 
unique feature of this breakwater. It has another unique 
feature, and that is in the method of placing the capping- 
stones. In every other known instance the large stones 
forming the top of the breakwater have been placed horizon- 
tally on their beds, and the desired cross-section has been 
secured by stepping them back. In our Buffalo breakwater, 
the blocks are placed normal to the surface so that the ex- 
posed surface of the structure has no steps but is compara- 
tively smooth. Angle stones are quarried for the base of the 
harbor slope and for the upper angles, and the result is that 
the capping-stones are all keyed together and support each 
other, and the waves can get no pronounced bite anywhere. 


This description of the stone, or rubble mound, break- 
water at Buffalo is very brief and very simple, but there is a 
great deal of engineering work connected with it. in seeing 
that the proper alignment and cross-sections are kept, direct- 
ing and keeping track of every scow-load of material 
dumped, determining the amounts of material placed in the 
work, and directing and passing upon the placing of every 
individual capping-stone. 

During the year 1900 there were two abnormally heavy 
storms, and the completed portion of the breakwater endured 
their onslaughts without the slightest damage being suf- 

Timber Crib Breakwater. — The fact that great trouble 
had been experienced with unequal settlement of the cribs 
in the construction of the old breakwater, combined with the 
further fact that the shore-arm built in 1893 was wrecked 
by a storm in the fall of the same year, due to the inadequacy 
of sustaining power in the soft clay lake bottom, all indicated 
that it would not do to build a timber crib breakwater 
directly upon the lake bottom. So in planning for the timber 
crib structure, it was required that a trench be excavated 
through the mud and clay forming the lake bottom down to 
the solid rock, somewhat wider at the bottom than the crib 
structure, and with such side slopes as the material would 
take, and back-fill this with gravel to the level of the lake 
bottom. This was a pretty large undertaking, and required a 
special dredge, as the water was 30 feet deep, and the mud 
and clay 30 to 40 feet thick to the rock, making it necessary 
to do much of the work at depths of 60 to 70 feet. For this 
purpose a huge clam-shell dredge was built, designed to 
handle 10 cubic yards of mud at one operation. Keeping 
this dredge at work in the fixed location, and making exactly 
the cross-section of trench desired without going outside the 
limits, was a work of considerable difficulty and required 
great care and patience. 

The tilling of the trench was done with gravel dredged 
from the Niagara River near the International bridge. 
When this tilling reached the original lake bottom, it was 
surmounted by a fat-shaped stone mound built up to the 


height of 22 feet below water level. This mound was 50 
feet wide, 14 feet wider than the cribs to be sunk on it, and 
it was carefully leveled off. Then the cribs, 36 feet wide, 22 
feet high, and 180 feet long', made of 12 by 12-inch timbers, 
were towed out and sunk in place, filled with stone and cov- 
ered with the superstructure of timber and stone, six feet 
above water on the harbor side and 12 feet above water on 
the lake side. A small amount of rip-rap was placed along 
each side of the structure ; and it is intended as rapidly as 
practicable to keep on placing rip-rap along the lake front 
of this timber crib breakwater until it reaches a condition of 
practical stability well up to, or above, water level. This 
was not planned at first, but experience demonstrates that it 
will be safer to have this enrockment, which will somewhat 
break up the waves before they reach the vertical face of the 
timber structure. 

There are few breakwaters that have been built exactly 
as planned and been found entirely safe and satisfactory, 
and that building at Buffalo is no exception. It was hoped 
for a long time that there would be no tiy in our ointment, 
but it got there. It blew in on the tail end of the great West 
Indian storm of Sept. 11-12, 1901, which so completely 
wrecked Galveston and then made its way up through the 
Mississippi Valley and paid us a visit on its passage to the 
Xorth Atlantic. This storm practically wrecked the super- 
structure on about 2,000 feet of our timber crib portion of 
the South Harbor section. 

The Galveston storm was followed ten weeks later, Nov. 
21, 1900, by another wind-storm of abnormal severity, which 
took hold of the already partially wrecked superstructure 
and played havoc with it. About 1,500 feet of the super- 
structure was razed nearly to the water's cd^e. Luckily the 
substructure, or portion below the water, stood all right, and 
in excellent condition to put on a new superstructure. The 
portion of the breakwater wrecked is in the deepest water 
and directly in the axis of Lake Erie, and was attacked by 
the waves with a ferocitv far exceeding: that with which the 


old breakwater ever had been attacked. The vertical front 
of the structure received the waves and deflected them up- 
wards to a height estimated at from ioo to. 150 feet, and the 
great masses of water so deflected came down with such 
force upon the deck as to crush it in and to break great tim- 
bers 12 inches square as if they were matches. The deck 
once broken in, the waves and falling water were enabled to 
wash out the stone filling and get at and demolish the back 
walls and crush and tear out the cross and longitudinal ties. 
A considerable portion of the superstructure built 12 feet 
high was carried awav, down to the ordinarv level of the 

In the engineering world, as well as in most other worlds, 
we learn as much, and perhaps more, by failures as by suc- 
cesses, and the failure of our timber crib breakwater has 
taught several important things about breakwaters. One of 
the lessons that it has taught is that in the same vicinity, and 
with water of nearly identical depth and with the same gen- 
eral exposure, two breakwaters, or sections of the same 
breakwater, may be attacked by the waves with far differing 
degrees of ferocity. It is difficult to conceive why the new 
breakwater should be attacked with so much greater violence 
than the old one, but it is so beyond a doubt. 

Another thing that we have learned is that the deck of a 
breakwater is a more important part of it and requires 
greater strength than we had previously understood to be 
necessary, particularly in the case of a breakwater with a 
vertical front wall. The failure has also taught many minor 
points in regard to construction, and in particular it has 
taught that wood is a very poor material with which to build 
a breakwater in comparison with stone or concrete. 

Plans were at once made for the repairs of the breakwater. 
They were begun in 1901, and the work will be completed 
by July. 1902. It has always been proposed with these 
wooden breakwaters of the Great Lakes that when their su- 
perstructure became so rotten that they could no longer be 
depended upon to resist the action of the winds and waves, 
they should be replaced with superstructures of masonry. 

It has never been deemed practicable, where the struc- 


ture was not founded upon ruck bottom, to put the masonry 
superstructure on when it was first built, on account of the 
liability to excessive and unequal settlement, which would 
tend to crack and damage the masonry. About two thirds 
of the old breakwater has received a concrete superstructure. 
a portion of which was put on under the direction of Major 
Symons last year- When we came to consider what should 
be done with the wrecked breakwater near Stony Point, 
three general methods of repair suggested themselves. One 
was to rebuild the wooden superstructure, making it 
stronger and able to withstand such storms as those that 
wrecked it before. The objection to this was that it would 
be expensive, and would still leave the superstructure to be 
changed to masonry at some time in the future. A second 
method was to finish it on the top and lake side with rubble 
and capping-stone similar to the regular rubble mound 
breakwater heretofore described. This appealed to all very 
strongly, but the serious objection to it was the time that it 
would require. It would probably take two years or more to 
do it, and in the meantime the wrecked breakwater would be 
liable to greater and greater damage, if not complete de- 
struction. A third method was to put a concrete superstruc- 
ture on it similar to that put on a portion of the old break- 
water and on the new North breakwater. This, it was be- 
lieved, could be done in one working season. The objection 
to putting it on in the first place no longer held, as the break- 
water had settled to a practical condition of stability and 
been thoroughly well pounded down by the waves. 

As this concrete superstructure involves some interesting 
engineering features, it will be described, premising the de- 
scription with the statement that it is similar in all respects 
to the superstructure put on the old breakwater and the new 
North breakwater, only made somewhat heavier on account 
of the greater exposure. 

This style of superstructure was first devised and adopted 
at Buffalo, and we call it the concrete-shell construction, to 
distinguish it from the solid concrete superstructure which 
has hitherto and elsewhere been adopted. It consists, briefly, 
of three rows of concrete blocks weighing 10 to 14 tons each, 


extending from two feet below ordinary mean lake level to 
two and three feet above this level, and resting upon these 
blocks and covering all the space between them a shell of 
concrete three to five feet thick, with all the interior space 
filled with packed stone. 

In doing the work the cribs are first cut down and leveled 
off at the elevation of two feet below water, as it is consid- 
ered that below this level the wood is practically imperish- 
able. The concrete blocks are used about the water-line on 
account of the difficulty of getting good concrete made in 
the water and subject to the lapping action of the waves. To 
make these blocks as nearly monolithic as possible, joggle 
channels three inches deep are made in their ends, and when 
they are placed end to end, the double joggle channels six 
inches wide are filled with rich concrete well tamped in. The 
blocks once up, and the space between them filled with stone, 
forms or molds are put up and the place concrete is put in, 
forming the walls. Stone is filled in between the walls, and 
the deck is then put over all, resting on the walls and stone 
filling. At every 36 feet cross- walls are put in, making a 
series of pockets. To bond the concrete made in place to 
the concrete blocks, panels are made in the latter six inches 
deep which are filled with the place concrete. This shell 
concrete superstructure is believed to be fully as good as one 
of solid concrete and is much cheaper, the tilling stone cost- 
ing about $1 a yard, replacing the concrete costing $7 to $3 
per yard. 

The north breakwater. — The Act of June 3, 1896, 
provided for the protection of the whole water front of the 
City of Buffalo south of the entrance channel, but there re- 
mained cue link to make the chain complete and secure pro- 
tection for the entire city front. The missing link was at the 
north end of the chain. The Xew York State breakwater, 
forming the Erie Basin, protected the shore line and its ele- 
vators and lumber and coal docks for about 2,400 feet north 
from the entrance channel. Then there was a stretch of 
some 2,300 feet of exposed shore line before the Bird Island 
pier, also a State structure forming the entrance to Black 
Rock harbor, was readied. The entrance to Erie Basin at 


its northerly end, and the entrance to Black Rock harbor, 
were thus exposed to lake storms, as well as the main shore 
between the two. This exposure had precluded the building 
of any wharves or docks along the main shore, and it was 
bare of any improvements from the foot of Georgia Street 
to the foot of Porter Avenue. The desired protection could 
be secured by a section of breakwater covering the open 

The importance of Buffalo harbor was so well recognized 
that favorable Congressional action providing for this sec- 
tion was promptly secured. The River and Harbor Act of 
March 3, 1899, provided: 

For the improvement of the Buffalo Entrance to Erie Basin and 
Black Rock Harbor, New York, $50,000: Provided, That a contract 
or contracts may be entered into by the Secretary of War as may be 
necessary for the completion of said project, . . to be paid 

for as appropriations may from time to time be made by law, not to 
exceed in the aggregate $198,113.80, exclusive of the amount herein 

Briefly stated, the project was to build a breakwater 
2,200 feet long on the location now occupied by the North 
breakwater, of hemlock timber cribs resting on solid rock 
bottom, and surmounted by a concrete superstructure of the 
shell design before described. Under the provisions of the 
Act of March 3, 1899, a contract was entered into with 
J. B. Donnelly of Buffalo, X. Y., for the whole breakwater, 
and the construction was begun by the contractor in August, 

1899. Construction advanced favorably during the re- 
mainder of that season and during the following season of 

1900, until the great Galveston storm of Sept. 11-12, 1900, 
made its' unwelcome and destructive visitation. The wind 
reached a velocity of ~$ miles per hour, and the water rose 
5.6 feet above mean lake level. The construction of con- 
crete superstructure had just been commenced. Some 200 
concrete blocks had been laid on the cribs ready for the con- 
crete walls. These blocks were 4 by 5 by 10 feet in size, and 
weighed some 14 tons each. Most of them were thrown off 
the cribs by the great seas sweeping over the work, and 100 
feet of concrete walls built over blocks in place, was cracked 
and severely damaged. The blocks were promptly recovered 


by a large derrick with the help of a diver, and work went 
on. By November 21st over 1,000 feet of the breakwater 
was completed. Then came the second great storm, Nov. 21, 
1900. with its 60-mile wind, and severely damaged 150 feet 
of freshly-made concrete superstructure, and covered all 
with a coating of ice. Work was necessarily stopped. In 
March, 1 901, the work was taken up again, and the whole 
breakwater fully completed June 4, 1901. In the meantime 
Congress had provided the funds necessary, and thus the 
whole breakwater, 2.200 feet long-, built in an enduring form, 
had been built and paid for in less than two years' time, and 
in less than 16 months of actual working time. 

When the remaining portion of the stone breakwater is 
completed, Buffalo will have by far a greater length of 
breakwater than any other city in the world. From Stony 
Point to the end of the North breakwater there are 22,500 
feet of breakwater, very nearly double that at Cherbourg, 

The cost of the different types of breakwaters which I 
have described, built in water 2S to 30 feet deep, is ap- 
proximately as follows, which prices include the cost of su- 
perintendence, office expenses, etc. : 

The rubble mound, or stone, breakwater costs $130 per 

The timber crib breakwater, including the trench excava- 
tion and tilling same with gravel, costs $160 per foot, and if 
to this the lake-side enrockment is added, the cost is $200 per 
foot. If to this we add the cost of the concrete superstruc- 
ture as built on the portion wrecked in 1901 and as will be 
required eventually to replace all timber superstructure, the 
cost is S300 a foot. 

It will be observed that these costs are small, compared 
with the costs of foreign breakwaters which run ordinariiy 
from $500 to $1,500 per foot. 

There have been appropriated and expended on the con- 
struction and improvement of Buffalo harbor by the United 
States Government, the amounts shown in the following 
table : 








.$ 15,000.00 



1874. . 

. .$ 75,000.00 




34,206 . 00 


3 > 

















1878. . 








1879- • 








18S0. . 




1834 .... 

20,000 . 00 



i88t. . 












1844. • • • 

40,000 . 00 



1884. • 







5 5 

1886. . 







1 1, 

1 888.. 




1855... • 




1890. . 
















1894. . 





1 3 1 ,000 . 00 




481. 250. CO 







1898. . 

.. 489.746.00 



I869. .V. 



3 j 


. . 485.498.00 



1870. . . . 

80.000 . 00 



1899. • 








1901. . 



1873- ... 







1874. . . . 

20,000 . OO 

To this should he added the appropriations for the break- 
water at the Buffalo entrance to Erie Basin and Black Rock 
Harbor ( the North breakwater ) as follows : 

March 3, 1899 $ 50,000. co 

June 6, 1900 191,701.25 

Total $241,701.25 

This gives an aggregate of over 85,000,000. * 

* For a description of Buffalo harbor as it is (spring of 1902) see Sur-aey <>f North- 
ern and Northwestern Lakes: Bulletin No. 12 D, Lake Eru- and Niagara River to 
Niagara Falls, published by the War Department. Corps of Engineers, I'. S. Army, 
April 30, 190J. It summarizes the work thus far accomplished; shows that in the 
outer harbor "there are about 605 acres of water with jo feet and over in depth.*' 
and "about 700 acrc> between the breakwater and the established harbor line which 
coincides generally with the 18-foot curve, all L r ood anchorage ground." Statistics 
and accurate data are given on every phase of the harbor as it is. well showing what 
has been accomplished by the (iovernment outlay of nearly $5,000,000. 


Nothing has been said here about the development in the 
inner harbor of Buffalo. To treat this subject properly 
would take much time and research and does not properly 
belong in a paper on the work done by the General Govern- 
ment. Suffice it to say that the people of Buffalo have tried 
to "keep up with the procession," with the larger and ever 
larger boats and constantly increasing business, by deepen- 
ing the river and making slips and canals, and building ele- 
vators, warehouses, etc. In all, the hand and brain of the 
engineer have been all-important. Xew methods and im- 
provements are constantly being devised and made, and the 
end is very far from being reached yet. Here, as every- 
where else, there is room for the inventiveness and adaptive- 
ness of the engineer. Owing to the quick loading and un- 
loading devices at the lake ports, an amount of business is 
being done several times greater than could have been done 
with a fleet of the same capacity 40 or 50 years ago. One 
example illustrating this : 

Fifty or 60 years ago when a ship arrived in Buffalo with 
a load of grain, it was taken out by a string of men climbing 
up a ladder with full baskets on their shoulders, emptying 
the grain into bins, and going down another ladder into the 
bowels of the ship with empty baskets, and painfully re- 
peating this process hour after hour. A busy-brained man. 
Mr. Joseph Dart, seeing them thus employed, thought the 
process could be improved upon by fastening the basket to 
an endless chain put up in a nearly vertical position and kept 
going by steam power. From this idea sprang the great ele- 
vator system of Buffalo, where grain is handled in greater 
quantities and at a less cost than at any other port in the 
world. « So rapidly is this work done now that a great 
steamer carrying 200,000 bushels of wheat can. with the aid 
of a dozen or fifteen men, be unloaded in eight or ten hours. 
Under the old system it would have taken them two or three 

Buffalo is one of the great ports of the world. It is dif- 
ficult, if not impossible, to get accurate statistics of the 

* See, on this subject. Joseph Hart's own account of The Grain Elevators of 
Buffalo, Buffalo Historical Society Publications, \ ol. I., pp. 391-404. 


water-borne commerce of different ports, but from the best 
data available it may be asserted that in our country the 
commerce of Buffalo is only exceeded by that of Xew York 
and Chicago, and in the whole world there are but about rive 
or six cities which have a greater amount of water-borne 
commerce than Buffalo. 

The ships in which the business of the Lakes is now done 
have grown so large, approximately 500 feet in length, and 
the amount of business so great, that the inner harbor in the 
narrow creek has been outgrown, and the demand: for a 
more commodious harbor is imperative. It is to meet this 
demand that the outer harbor was made, and it is expected 
that soon quite a transformation scene will be exhibited by 
the erection of wharves, elevators, warehouses, etc., in the 
outer harbor, and the transaction of the greater part of the 
business there. It is with this Qnd in view that the great 
Government works were built. In regard to these works 
Buffalo has a very proud record : 

1. It is the first city on the Lakes at which a fully ex- 
posed breakwater was built. 

2. It is the first city on the Lakes whose timber, crib 
breakwater received a solid concrete masonry superstructure. 

3. It is the first city on the Lakes at which a massive 
stone breakwater was built. 

4. It is the first city on the Lakes, and it is believed in 
the world, at which a stone breakwater has been built with a 
gravel hearting. 

5. It is the first city on the Lakes, and probably in the 
world, where the concrete-shell structure has been adopted 
and used surmounting a timber crib breakwater. 

Lights and Aids to Navigation.. — Among other work 
done by the General Government for the benefit of the navi- 
gation interests are the construction and maintenance of 
lighthouse and fog-signal stations and the placing and care 
of buoys. 

Buffalo Main Light. — The first work of the kind done by 
the Government at Buffalo was the erection of a lighthouse 
near the mouth of Buffalo Greek. This was in 1820, and its 
location was about that of the present lighthouse slip, op- 


posite the Watson Elevator. The character and cost of the 
light arc unknown. In 1833. when the South pier had been 
built by the Government, the entrance light was removed to 
the end of the pier where a mole had been prepared for its 
reception. Upon this the handsome cut-stone lighthouse was 
built and surmounted by a fine iron and glass lantern. In 
this was installed a third order dioptric Fresnel lens illum- 
inating an arc of 216 degrees. The tower at first had a fog 
bell, but this was taken down in 1880 when the fog-signal 
station was established on the breakwater. Of late years this 
tower had been kept painted white, to better serve as a day 
mark to boats approaching the harbor. The light is 76 feet 
above the waters of the lake. 

Brcakii'ater Light and Fog Signal. — In 1872, after the 
breakwater commenced in i8f)8 had been built to several 
hundred feet in length, a lighthouse was established at its 
northern end. It was built on a separate crib Avork and 
stone pier 40 feet square, just inside of and detached from 
the breakwater. In 1899 the light was raised 12 feet, and it 
is now 53J/2 feet above the lake. It is a fourth order, fixed 
red light. In addition to the light there has been installed 
on the same pier a steam fog-signal apparatus which con- 
sists of a 10-inch whistle, the steam for which is supplied by 
duplicate water tube boilers. The apparatus went into com- 
mission in 1893. am l owing to complaints on the part of 
people in Buffalo, and to increase its efficiency lakeward, it 
was later provided with a reflector to deaden the sound 
towards the city and increase it towards the lake. The sta- 
tion is also provided with a fog bell to be rung in case the 
steam apparatus is out of order. 

Horseshoe Reef Light. — On a rocky ledge known as 
Horseshoe Reef, at the head of the Niagara River, on the 
north side of the approach to Buffalo harbor from the lake. 
and about one third of the distance from the Canadian to 
the American shore, is the Horseshoe Reef light. This was 
first built in 1856, and was rebuilt and strengthened in 1871. 
and has received various additions since. It is a light of the 
fourth order, and is a fixed white varied by a white flash 
every 30 seconds. It is 44 K> ^ eet above the water and is on a 


timber stone-filled crib, surrounded by heavy stone to pro- 
tect it against storms and ice shoves. 

Niagara River Range Lights. — For the purpose of guid- 
ing" vessels through, the best channel at the head of the 
Niagara River, two range lights have been built in the City 
of Buffalo. The front light is on the embankment separating 
the Erie Canal from the Black Rock Harbor Canal, near the 
water works pumping station, and the rear light is on a small 
triangular park at the eastern end of Hampshire Street. 
Both are handsome towers of wood and concrete foundations 
and were built, the rear in 1898-^9 and the front in 1900. 
These lights were originally established in 1885 as simple 
post lights. They were afterwards changed to the skeleton 
towers with a little house on top, and these in turn changed 
to the present handsome structures. The lights are both 
fixed white, and are, front 54.3/2, and rear 103, feet above the 
water of the lake. 

New Lights to be Established. — Contracts have been let 
for three new lights and a new fog-signal station for Buf- 
falo harbor. One new steel tubular lighthouse is to be built 
on the south end of the new Xorth breakwater, and a similar 
structure is to be built to mark the northern extremity of the 
new main southern entrance to the outer harbor. These are 
both to be fixed red lights. On the northern extremity of the 
Stony Point arm of the new breakwater, to mark the south 
of the new main southern entrance, is to be built a very tine 
structure in which will be installed a lightning flash-light of 
great beauty, intensity and power. It will flash every ten 
seconds, two white flashes then a red flash in one revolution 
of the lens. This will be one of the finest lights on the Great 
Lakes. At the same location will be built a fog-signal sta- 
tion in which will be installed a pair of Harnsby-Akroyd oil 
engines with air compressors, the compressed air from which 
will operate a siren. This is a strictly first-class, up-to-date 
outfit for fog signal purposes. 

Besides the lights, the Government maintains a number 
of buoys to aid vessels to safely reach and leave Buffalo 






As early as 18 16 a few enterprising men residing in 
Northern Ohio obtained a charter from the Legislature of 
that State under which a Company was formed and a sum 
of $8,000 was subscribed. William Latimer, Abraham [il- 
legible], Seymour Austin and Ely Bond were the active men 
engaged in the enterprise. Painesville, Ohio, is entitled to 
the credit of making the first experiment in harbor improve- 
ments on the lakes, at the mouth of the Grand River, Ohio. 
In the spring of 18 19 they began operations on the east side 
of that river, and drove two tiers of piles about 40 rods in 
length, set five feet apart, and filled them up with brush, 
timber and a few stones. In February, 1820, a severe freshet 
at the breaking up of the ice carried away some 15 rods of 
the work. Nothing m< >re was done until 1821, when the 
piles were extended about 30 rods farther. The funds raised 
by the company proving totally inadequate to accomplish the 
object, the work was relinquished to the General Govern- 

* Died Feb. 6, 1865. What is here printed is hut a portion of the material 
deposited by Capt. Walker with the Buffalo Historical Society in i8'>_l. His 
records are particularly full as to the names of early vessel builders and owners, 
of early vessels, especially steamboats, with dates of their launching; with 
many pages of memoranda relating to the business-men of l'uftalo and other 
lake ports in the first half of the nineteenth century. 


ment, which made an appropriation of $1,000 and the next 
year another small appropriation. In 1827 the Government 

assumed the construction of the harbor, under the direction 
of its own agents and from that period forward until the 
work was suffered to fall into decay Grand River lias been 
one of the best artificial harbors on the coast of the lakes. 

The second experiment was made by citizens of Buffalo 
who commenced the construction of a pier in 1820. 
Application was made by the citizens of Buffalo praying the 
Legislature for a survey of Buffalo Creek; an act was 
passed April 10, 1818, authorizing a survey and directing the 
Supervisors of the County of Niagara to pay S3 a day to the 
surveyor and to assess the amount to the county. . . . * 

Buffalo and Black Rock were not the only rival towns 
in the lake region ; the same feeling of rivalry existed be- 
tween Huron and Sandusky villages. It originated as early 
as the time when there were but seven steamboats upon the 
lakes — 1826 — from the fact that none of the boats could be 
prevailed upon to touch at Huron but would go to Sandusky 
bay, often carrying large numbers of passengers past their 
destination at Huron, subjecting them to the inconvenience 
of finding their way back over 10 miles by land conveyance. 
The captains claimed that it was unsafe to run down into 
Huron bay but the real reason was that it would detain them 
an hour or so on their trip. This state of things so incensed 
those residing at Huron, Milan, Xorwalk, Vermilion and 
other towns in the neighborhood of Huron that they de- 
termined to have a steamboat of their own. 

Knowing something of the extent of the injuries they 
had been subjected to, as I had during those years been 
doing business with my schooner at that port and was fa- 
miliar with the harbor, I proposed to join them in building 
a steamer. This resulted in the construction of the steamer 
Sheldon Thompson. I left my schooner Lady of the Lake 
for one trip and took passage 011 the steamboat Superior for 
Sandusky. This was the first time I had ever traveled on a 
steam-vessel. I left the steamer at that port, hired a horse 

*Capt. Walker's description of the work on Buffalo harbor is here omitted, being; 
substantially what Judee Wilkeson has recorded. 


and buggy and made my way to Milan, The next day a 
public meeting was called which brought together the mer- 
chants, farmers and mechanics, all of whom subscribed stock 
to the amount of 810,150, in $50 shares, some to pay in labor, 
some in pork, flour, etc., others in merchandise at cost prices. 
Four yoke of oxen and chains were to be furnished by the 
farmers ; others were to deliver timber at so much per foot. 
This $10,150 was the whole capital stock decided upon, 
though the boat cost some S 16,000. There was not a very 
large amount of money used in her building as the com- 
modities furnished by her stockholders were most that were 
required. The engine and boilers were furnished by stock- 
holders, which were the same that were used by the steamer 
Enterprise previous to running the high-pressure engine. 

Such was the spirit manifested by these public-spirited 
men that for many years thereafter Huron had its own repre- 
sentative steamer and also became famed for its ship-build- 
ing. A number of steamers were built at Huron under the 
title and name of The Huron Mechanics' Association. 

Soon after it was known that the Grand River harbor 
had been improved, other places along the coast began sim- 
ilar work by driving piles and in a few years almost every 
creek and river on Lake Erie was greatly benefited by this 
process of piling. Among them were the Cattaraugus. Con- 
neaut and Ashtabula creeks, Cuyahoga, Black, Vermilion 
and Huron rivers. Port Clinton and the River Raisin, all 
begun before 1S23. 

About 1835 or '36 another class of harbors was intro- 
duced on Lake Michigan, by driving piles some six or eight 
feet apart in two rows 10 or 12 feet distant, with cross 
ties over the tops of the piles and some eight feet above the 
water, on which the planking rested. These piers extended 
1,200 to 1.500 feet into the lake or until they reached 12 feet 
of depth. The>" served well to land goods on, but were un- 
stable moorings for vessels in rough weather. These piers 
were run out into the lake at many points along the coast 
where there were no creeks or rivers. This class of harbors 
was first constructed by Horatio Stevens at Milwaukee, and 
for manv years, until the harbors at Milwaukee and Chicago 


were completed, it was the only kind of harbors on that 
coast. • Mr. Stevens for many years was identified with our 
steam marine, and at one time owner of the steamboat Mil- 

I first came to the lakes in May, 1817, when I was 17 
years old, led only by my desire to become a sailor. The 
aggregate population of Buffalo and Black Rock did not 
exceed 1,000, but the spirit of rivalry was even then active 
among- the few men engaged in commerce, and was kept 
alive through the public journals of that time. This was a 
source of great amusement to tho.^e who knew but little of 
the natural advantages of the two localities. The trade of 
the lakes was limited; there were but 19 American merchant 
vessels on Lake Erie ; these vessels with few exceptions 
plied from the harbor of Black Rock, which was then in its 
natural state, no artificial structures having been built. 
Niagara River was the only accessible harbor at this end of 
the lake and was sought by all mariners in rough weather, 
who often had to bear up and run back hundreds of miles. 
Especially in the fall was it the only safe retreat or shelter 
from wild storms. Buffalo Creek was then a sluggish 
stream, at times easily forded at its mouth and often in sum- 
mer entirely barred up with sand by the action of surf from 
the bay. It would soon break out again, winding its way 
along the beach a half mile or more north of its present con- 
fluence with the lake. 

In 18 1 6, '17 and '18 Sill. Thompson & Co. were the only 
forwarding house at Black Rock. The principals of the 
firm were Nathaniel Sill and Captain Sheldon Thompson. 
Subsequently the firm assumed the title of Thompson & Co., 
James L. Barton being the junior partner in the concern. 
Still later and for many years, the firm was known as Coit. 
Kimberly & Co. ; afterwards Kimberly, Pease ec Co., John 
Pease being one of the firm : at present, Pease & Trobridge. 
These several firms, for the last 47 years, have been known 
among the most prominent business establishments at this 
port, and for man}' years contributed their full share to the 
development of our lake commerce and were for some time 
largely interested in the trade of the Erie Canal. 



In those same years — iS\C\ '17 and '18 — there was but 
one forwarding house on Buffalo Creek — the firm of Town- 
send & Coit. The Hon. Charles Townsend and George Coit 
were partners in this firm for many years, until the death 
of Judge Townsend. This firm, I am informed, was the 
first that forwarded any articles of merchandise westward 
from Buffalo in a regular order of shipment, by bill of 

A few years later, Mr. John Scott commenced a for- 
warding business upon the creek, near Main Street. Sub- 
sequently the firm assumed the name of Scott & Darker — the 
late Jacob A. Barker being the junior partner. Afterwards 
the firms were Barker & Holt : Hunter, Palmer & Co. ; 
Holt & Ensign, and at present Charles Ensign. Previous to 
the opening of our present harbor all goods and merchandise 
that came to this point to be shipped westward, were taken 
in scows or lighters, alongside, and loaded on board vessels 
at anchor in the bay, where they generally came to in three 
fathoms. Any nearer approach to the shore was considered 
unsafe, as the anchorage in less water was known to be bad 
holding-ground, rendering vessels liable to drag on shore 
before getting under way. Most vessels upon the lakes at 
that day were dull sailers ; some of them could hardly claw 
off shore under canvas. 

This business of lightering was mostly monopolized by 
Winthrop Pox, he having the only facilities for that pur- 
pose. His charges would seem rather exorbitant at the pres- 
ent day for such services. Mr. Fox was among the first 
settlers of Buffalo, and a brother to Carlton W. Fox. who 
many years since embarked with a company of Indians to 
Europe for the purpose of exhibiting them as a matter of 
speculation, but which, so far as I am informed, was a sad 
failure, the result of which is known to many of the older 
inhabitants of our city, as well as to some of the Senecas and 
other tribes who are relatives of those natives that went upon 
that expedition." 

Ship-building, in 18 17, was almost in its infancy. The 

* For an account of this venture, sec The Indian Shntv of Starrs & Co., 
Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. IV.. pp. 415-416. 


only persons engaged in this important branch, as master 
builders, were Capt. Asa Stanard and Benjamin Bidwell. 
They were doing business, on a small scale, at Black Rock. 
x\s early as 1812. while our late Captain Bidwell was yet an 
apprentice, old Capt. Stanard had established a shipyard on 
Scajaquada Creek. Subsequently (after the death of Capt. 
Stanard). the firm was known by the name of Bidwell & 
Davidson ; and some years later ( after the demise of Capt. 
Davidson), as Bidwell & Carrick, who established a ship- 
yard and dry-dock at this port. Since that time the firm was 
known as Bidwell & Banta, the late Jacob W. Banta being 
one of the principals. The name of Jacob W. Banta de- 
serves more than a passing comment. Few men in modern 
times have shown more talent and taste in naval science than 
he. He was apprenticed quite young, schooled and educated 
under the instruction of Henry Eckford of the City of New 
York, of the firm of Eckford & Westervelt, who was known 
to rank among the best naval architects of his time. Mr. 
Banta possessed genius of a high order, which was mani- 
fested in his models of those two splendid steamers, the 
Western Metropolis and City of Buffalo. 

When I first arrived at Black Rock, May 5, 18 17, I found 
five sail vessels laid up in that harbor, where they had been 
moored the previous winter — the schooners Michigan, Erie 
and Ranger, the sloop Hannah, and the brig Union. The 
Union, Erie and the sloop Hannah were hauled into the 
mouth of Scajaquada Creek. These vessels had just begun 
fitting out for the season. The ice from the lake was slowly 
passing down the Niagara in large quantities, and did not 
entirely disappear until nearly the first of June. These ves- 
sels, to my inexperienced eye, looked very formidable. In- 
deed, they were the largest water craft I had ever seen. 
Their size, together with the sight of Lake Erie for the first 
time, made a singular impression upon my young mind. 
The Michigan was 132 tons burden, the largest American 
merchant vessel afloat upon the lakes. The Erie was y~ 
tons ; the Hannah 48 and 73"95'^ ns ton's measurement; the 
Union 104 tons, and the schooner Ranger, a small affair, 
only 28 tons — custom-house measurement. The Michigan, 


Erie and sloop Hannah were built at Black Rock in 1816. 
The sloop Hannah is the first vessel that appears on the 
Custom House register at this port, under date of August, 
1816. She was owned by Charles Townsend, George Coit 
and Captain Oliver Coit of Buffalo. Her first commander, 
Captain Coit, was a thorough seaman, educated in the school 
of ocean discipline, some of which he brought with him to 
the lakes, and in a large degree insisted upon its due ob- 
servance, which seemed rather a trying ordeal to fresh-water 
sailors, making some of them at times quite refractory. 

The schooner Michigan was built by a shipwright named 
Sneeden, who came on from the East for that purpose. This 
vessel was a double topsail schooner, resembling in most par- 
ticulars the down-easters that ply upon the Atlantic coast at 
the present day. She was owned by Sill, Thompson & Co. ; 
and Capt. James Rough, who took command of her the first 
and second season. Subsequently, for a number of years she 
was under the command of Capt. Walter Norton. 

After 11 years of successful service upon the lakes, the 
Michigan was bought by parties as a speculation, and under 
the direction of Capt. Rough, was fitted out with a variety 
of living animals on board and sent over the Falls of Niag- 
ara. Among the number of animals was a full-grown Ara- 
bian camel, one elk, a variety of dogs, one bear and a number 
of swan, geese and hawks, who were left to roam about on 
deck, until the gallant craft made her last and fearful plunge 
over the precipice into the abyss below. This scene at> 
tracted a large concourse of spectators, estimated from 
50,000 to 100,000 persons, who gathered from far and near. 
Capt. Levi Allen of this city was one of the ship's crew 
who assisted in this novel enterprise, and had it not been for 
him and others of the crew, old Capt. Rough, in his zeal to 
have everything rightly adjusted before leaving his favorite 
ship, would have been drawn, with all hands, over the falls. 
The crew, with the utmost exertion, rowed the yawl on 
shore; some distance below the mouth of Chippewa Creek 
on the Canada side, just above the first cataract, to the great 
relief of the multitude who witnessed this almost miraculous 


Capt. Rough was one of the early settlers of Blaek Rock, 
a Scotchman by birth and possessing those strong national 
characteristics and ruling passions that tend to the accumu- 
lation of wealth. He was bred to the sea, and in most par- 
ticulars was a fair specimen of an old tar — arbitrary and 
commanding on shipboard, at times as rough as the element 
he inhabited, though affable, courteous and gentlemanly in 
his intercourse with the world. When on shore he seemed 
almost transformed into another being. Some few years 
prior to his death, he was supposed by many to be very poor, 
laboring under many pecuniary embarrassments. It was 
ascertained, however, after his demise, that he had some 
$30,000 or 840,000 of ready money in the bank at Chippewa 
and $4,000 in a bank at Pittsburgh, besides a large landed 
estate in Black Rock. He died at Black Rock and was 
buried in the old cemetery, with a quaint and concise device 
placed upon his tombstone by his friend, Major Donald 
Fraser, then a resident of Black Rock." It reads as follows: 

Here lies the body of 
Captain James Rough, 

A son of aiild Seotia : 

Who died Dee. 4U1, 1828. 

A Highlandman's son placed this stone 

in remembrance of his friend. 

Here moored beneath this willow tree. 
Lies honor, worth and integrity. 
More I might add, but 'tis enough, 
'Tvvas concentrated all in honest Rough. 

With such as he, where'er he be — 

May I be saved or damned. F. 

The schooner Erie was built by Stanard & Bidwell in 
18 1 6 and was owned by Sill, Thompson & Co. and Captain 
M. T. Miller, who commanded her the first and second sea- 
sons. At that day she was considered a fine model, having 

* For some account of Capt. Roufgh and his friend, Major Donald Fraser, 
see William Hodge's paper on Buffalo Cemeteries. Buffalo Historical Society 
Publications, Vol. I. The last two lines of the epitaph on Rough's tomhstone 
are from Burns's epitaph on Gavin Hamilton. 


a large amount of dead-rise to her floor. She was acknowl- 
edged by all to be the fastest sailer upon the lakes, especially 
in beating to windward. She was what seamen call a wet 
craft and with all her good sea qualities was a very uncom- 
fortable ship to sail in. This I can testify to, having sailed 
upon her one season as a hand before the mast. Vessels of 
the lake at that day were built without bulwarks and con- 
sequently when hauled upon the wind the spray made a free 
breach over the deck. The brig Union was owned by Jona- 
than Sidway and commanded by Captain James Beard. As 
this was the first vessel that I embarked on as a sailor I may 
be permitted to dwell on some of her peculiarities. She was 
modeled, built, owned and commanded by a man named 
Martin, who had been a house carpenter. She was partially 
built on Put-in-Bay Island, launched and towed to the mouth 
of Grand River, Ohio, in 1813. It is difficult to give any 
adequate idea of her construction. Her proportions were 
unlike those of any other craft then or since on the lakes. 
She had some good points, one of them her great breadth of 
beam ; that, together with her flat bottom, with but little 
.dead-rise to her Moor, enabled her to carry a much larger 
cargo than other vessels of her tonnage, and when light she 
could sail safely in all kinds of weather without ballast. The 
manner of her planking was peculiar. Her garboard-streak 
followed up the main stem, butting underneath the wales 
instead of ending against the stem of the ship. Each suc- 
ceeding streak of plank was gradually tapered or beveled at 
the forward end, so that the last streak was brought to a 
wedge-like point terminating some 20 feet from her bows. 
She was originally schooner-rigged, with two old-fashioned 
slip-keels. Her lower masts were buttonwood ; the bow- 
sprit and jib-boom of the same timber, both made in one 
spar; her decks were of red cedar and but very little iron 
was used in her build, she being mostly fastened with 
wooden trunnels. She was employed at the close of the war 
by the United States Government as a transport. In 181 5 
she was sunk in Scajaquada Creek, but was subsequently 
"raised by Stanard & "Bidwell and rebuilt into a hermaphro- 
dite brig — removing the slip-keels and substituting a stand- 


ing one in their stead. By this general overhauling- she was 
made to look much like a sea-going vessel, and when under 
way, with all her canvas, upper and lower studding' sails 
set to the breeze, her appearance was really quite imposing. 
In 1816, '17 and '1.8 she was under the command of Capt. 
James Beard, the father of the artist, Wra. H. Beard, of this 

I take pleasure in speaking of Capt. James Beard, who 
was then a man about 55 years of age. In after years I knew 
him intimately. He was a fair specimen of an old-fashioned 
gentleman, kind and genial in his nature and from his ex- 
tensive voyages upon the ocean, visiting many portions of 
the globe, had acquired a thorough knowledge of the geog- 
raphy of the world, although at the same time but poorly 
versed in the science of human nature. He, like many 
others, from the integrity of his own heart was slow to learn 
that mankind was not always to be trusted. He could hardly 
believe that most men talked and acted from motives of 
policy or interest. Capt. Beard was truly a gentleman, and 
in the broadest sense a true sailor. He was a resident of 
Black Rock when I came to the country, and remained there 
for some years, until he removed with his family to Ohio. 

The majority of commanders, as well as seamen, when I 
came to the lakes, were from the seaboard. Most of them 
not only brought with them their peculiar ideas of rigid, ar- 
bitrary discipline practiced upon the ocean, but most of the 
masters adopted the same style and mode of living among 
their crews. To give some idea how men before the mast 
fared upon the lakes at that day, I will note that their food, 
as a general thing, was salt pork and beef, hard bread or 
sea-biscuit, potatoes, beans or peas ; no tea, coffee, sugar, 
milk, butter or cheese were furnished by the owners. Each 
seaman and boy was allowed 12 shillings per month to buy 
such small stores. In addition to this all on board were, ac- 
cording to custom, allowed one half pint of whiskey, as 
rations, dealt out by the mate each day. As I happened to 
have a stronger appetite for sleep than for whiskey I could 
always find some one of the old tars that would stand my 
anchor-watch in port for the privilege of drinking my half 


pint of grog, added to his own. These and some other an- 
tiquated customs gradually gave way before the march of 
progress as the number of fresh- water masters and seamen 
multiplied upon the lakes. 

And as Capt. Beard was my first captain, I may be al- 
lowed to give some account of the incidents connected with 
that pioneer voyage. We sailed from the port of Black Rock 
one of the last days of May, bound for Cleveland, Ohio, 
or rather we were towed up the rapids (by what the sailors 
called a "horn breeze"), having 12 yoke of oxen to enable 
her to ascend. The current opposite the ferry was some nine 
knots and continued some distance above and below that 
point. Previous to the erection of Black Rock pier the 
average current up as far as the main reef was about seven 
knots. The day previous to our sailing, the Captain's family 
and some friends came and took dinner on board, a common 
custom in those days before leaving on a voyage, and 
especially was this custom observed when a vessel cleared for 
a distant port like Detroit or Mackinaw. 

Nothing worthy of note occurred on the passage up. The 
wind was light and fair most of the distance. We came to 
anchor the second day off the town, there being no harbor 
accessible at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River for any craft 
drawing over three feet of water. The yawl was soon low- 
ered and sent on shore with the captain, a few passengers, 
and her owner, Mr. Sidway, who acted as a sort of super- 
cargo. In the course of the afternoon a lighter came along- 
side, laden with some 30 barrels of pork, which were hoisted 
on board and stuck into the hold. The lighter returned to 
the shore. During the night the wind came on to blow from 
the eastward, and continued to increase until it blew a gale. 
We rode with both anchors ahead that night and the fol- 
lowing day, in the meantime the mate taking the precaution 
to have her canvas reefed and in readiness to get under way 
in case the cables parted. 

About 12 o'clock the second night, the best hawser cable 
parted and the other anchor began to drag on shore, leaving 
no other alternative but to bend a buoy to the cable, slip, 
make sail and stand out to sea, shaping .our course to the 


islands. We came to in Put-in-Bay harbor, with a small 
keelge anchor bent to the hawser, which was sufficient to 
bring her up in that most natural land-locked haven so much 
frequented in former years. Previous to the construction of 
artificial harbors along the coast, most vessels sought this 
safe retreat in rough weather. After our arrival, in clearing 
up the decks, it was found that the old buttonwood main- 
mast' was sprung in the partners, and by starting the wedges 
we discovered it was much decayed. This difficulty was ob- 
viated for the time being by substituting a longer set of 
wedges, extending some three feet above deck and passing 
down the mast about the same distance in the hold, and 
wrapping cordage tightly round. In that manner the mast 
was strongly fished, which enabled her to carry sail with 
safety. The next day the wind changed to the south'ard, 
and in the course of the day and night following, we came 
back to our old anchorage, got our anchors, by sweeping for 
the one attached to the parted cable, took on board a full 
cargo of pork, and with the last lighter load, Mr. Sidway 
came on board, having been left on shore with the captain 
during our trip to the island. When getting under way 
from Cleveland, it was generally supposed by the crew that 
we were bound directly to Black Rock, but we found our 
destination was Long Point, Canada West. We lay there, 
beating off and on from the main land, for nearly two weeks, 
much of the time at anchor, waiting a favorable opportunity 
to get the cargo on shore in small boats and scows that came 
alongside at night, whenever the brig stood in near the coast. 
At length the cargo, some 700 or 800 barrels, was all dis- 
posed of. 

I do not wish to say that this landing cargo in the night 
was smuggling, as I am quite sure I never saiv one barrel 
landed on the Canadian shore. It was enough that I knew 
the voyage to me was rather a rough one ; a reality which 
began to make me think there was not quite as much novelty 
in sailing as I had been led to believe from all the flattering 
stories I had heard of the pleasure of sailing upon the Great 
Lakes. It was quite another thing from what I had found 


in earlier youth in the sport of sailing over the smooth sur- 
face of Oneida and Onondaga lakes. 

We arrived off Buffalo, came to anchor outside, after 
having been absent nearly four weeks. The next day, the 
brig was to sail to Fort Erie for the purpose of taking on 
board a cargo of salt, an article bearing a much higher price 
than at the present day. I thought on the whole I had ex- 
perienced about as much of lake life and forecastle fare as I 
cared to see: in addition I had suffered terribly from sea- 
sickness and was a little homesick withal. I asked for my 
wages, having shipped only for the trip, the same as the 
balance of the crew, except the officers, who were shipped 
for the season. I received the amount due, having been on 
board seven weeks, including the time of fitting out. 

Small events sometimes change the whole tenor of a 
man's life : my next experience may seem to sustain that 
theory. After leaving the brig (which I confess was with 
some reluctance), I remained two days in Buffalo and 
finally determined to retrace my steps homeward, by the way 
of Black Rock. Lewiston and Oswego, the same route by 
which I came but eight weeks before. I commenced my 
journey at four o'clock in the afternoon, taking a short cut 
from my boarding house, located near Main Street, where 
Spaulding's Exchange now stands ; there was but one dwell- 
ing below that which stood in the angle just where Dods- 
worth's clothing store now stands. It was occupied as a 
small grocery kept by Daniel Barto. I followed a sort of 
foot-path or trail along the brow of the hill ( now the Ter- 
race), across lots and intersecting Niagara Street somewhere 
near where Prince's melodeon factory now stands.* Just 
above was a double log house occupied by old Uncle Caskey, 
as he was called by all who knew him. The region was then 
an open common with a few forest trees standing here and 
there among the scattered underwood. I sat down by the 
wayside to rest a little, as my baggage though scanty began 
to feel rather heavy. While sitting thus my attention was 
attracted to a pile of clippings or refuse which had been de- 

* Corner of Seventh an«l Maryland Streets. The factory lone since disappeared. 


posited from a tin shop in a hollow near by. I went to the 
spot and boy-like spent a half-hour or more in turning over 
the fancifully cut spirals and other fragments. Thus I oc- 
cupied myself until I fell asleep. When I awoke the sun 
was setting and the thought occurred to me that the day was 
too far gone for me to reach Black Rock before dark. So I 
changed my purpose and returned to my former boarding 
house, kept by old Father Mahoney, but with my mind still 
intent on leaving for home the next morning. But when 
morning came I began to falter as to the propriety of going 
home. I resolved once more to try a sailor's fortune, and 
before night I had shipped on board the schooner Ranger, 
which had found her way into Buffalo Creek, she drawing 
but three feet of water when her lea-boards were up. 

This small vessel was commanded by a Captain Levi 
Patterson, owned by Mr. Tinker, a merchant at Westfield ; a 
Mr. Hawley of Fredonia, and a gentleman residing in Buf- 
falo, whose name I do not remember. She plied between 
this port and Portland Harbor, touching at Silver Creek and 
Dunkirk. She was wrecked at Portland Harbor that fall. 
From that time to the present I have been more or less in- 
terested and associated with our lake commerce, which fact 
may be more or less due to the little circumstance of falling 
asleep on my way out of town, some 46 years ago. 

From 18 1 7 to 1820 sail vessels greatly increased in num- 
bers, though not in size. These vessels varied from 18 to 65 
tons burden, mostly built with slip-keels, differing somewhat 
from the present style of centerboards. Each creek, river 
and port along the coast had its representative vessels. 
Among them were the schooner Fire Fly and sloop Livonia, 
of Cattaraugus; Fayett's Packet, of Silver Creek; Dunkirk 
Packet, of Dunkirk ; Erie Packet, of Presqu' He, Pa. ; 
Salem Packet, of Conneaut, Ohio ; the General Jackson, of 
Superior; Zephyr and Traveller, of Ashtabula; Widow's 
Son. Grand River; Xeptune, American Eagle, Fairplay 
and Aurora, of Cleveland ( the Aurora was subsequently 
owned by Judge Samuel Wilkeson and Sheldon Chapin, of 
Buffalo); schooner Dread, of Black Rock; William and 
Ranker, of Vermilion River; the schooner William was 


owned in 1821 and '22 by Reuben B. Heacoek, Horace Grif- 
fin and Benjamin Fouler, then residents of Buffalo. The 
port of Huron, O., was represented by a small schooner of 
the same name; there were also the schooner Wolf, of San- 
dusky ; the Maumee Packet, of Maumee, and the schooner 
Tiger, of Detroit. The majority of commanders of these 
vessels have passed away. Capt. Levi Johnson, of Cleve- 
land ; Capt. Warren Dingly, Capt. Perkins, of Chautauqua 
County, and Capt. Joseph and John Napier, are all that are 
now living of the early pioneer captains." 

The schooner Red Jacket — called after the celebrated 
Indian chief of that name — was built at Black Rock in 1820, 
owned by Sill, Thompson & Co. and Reynolds Gillet (her 
first commander). This was the last sail craft built by 
Stanard & Bidwell at Black Rock. This vessel was de- 
signed and well adapted to the Sault Ste. Marie trade, as 
there was at that time but five feet of water on St. Clair and 
Lake George flats. She was employed the first season by 
the L nited States Government in the boundary survey of 
Lake Huron, having on board a party of topographical en- 
gineers, among whom were Maj. Donald Fraser and our 
fellow-citizen, William A. Bird, who was employed as 
astronomical engineer.! This vessel, from her peculiar con- 
struction and proportions, so unlike any other upon the lake, 
deserves a brief description. Her' length on deck was 70 
feet; breadth of beam, 17 feet; depth of hold, 4 feet 11 
inches — measuring 53 tons. She was what is called a 
periauger, carrying immense leaboards, fan-shaped, and 
so arranged on the sides of the vessel, that they could be 
hoisted or lowered away, as the case might be. One only 
being in the water at a time, these leaboards enabled 
her to pass through shoal water, and were necessarily ele- 
vated on entering port, when they extended several feet 
above the main rail, giving the ship a novel and somewhat 
unnatural appearance. The Red Jacket was the first mer- 
chant vessel built upon the lakes, with bulwarks. Previous 

* The reader will bear in mind that this paper was written 40 years ago. 
t See William A. Bird's Reminiscences of the Boundary Survey, etc., Buf- 
falo Historical Society Publications, Vol. IV. 


to her time vessels were built with open rail and stanchions. 
There was a necessity in this vessel having - bulwarks, as she 

had but little side above the water when loaded. Since her 
time, the plan of boarding up to the rail has become a uni- 
versal practice in building sail and steam vessels. In 1822 
I became interested in the Red Jacket, and commanded her 
for seven successive years. 

In 1823 the rirst chain cables were introduced upon the 
lakes by S. Thompson & Co. The schooners Michigan, 
Erie, Red Jacket and sloop Hannah were provided with that 
kind of cable, rather as an experiment at first, but they soon 
came into general use. 

About the year 1824 or '25, there was a marked improve- 
ment in the models and general construction of sail vessels, 
creating a new era in ship-building; much of which was due 
to the taste and skill of Capt. Fairbanks Church, and Captain 
Augustus Jones, who came from the East and established 
shipyards at the mouth of Black River and Huron, Ohio, 
where they continued business for many years. Their ves- 
sels, as a general thing, were far in advance of those pre- 
viously built — both for sailing and carrying heavier burden 
for their tonnage, and drawing much less water than those 
previously introduced. They bore a greater proportion of 
beam to the length of keel, and less depth in the hold, and 
being very broad on the transom, were enabled to carry sail 
as long as their canvas held together, which sometimes is 
very important when jammed upon a lea shore. There was a 
peculiar grace in the set of those vessels. In that particular 
these builders excelled. Their vessels had a sort of swan- 
like appearance upon the water, that attracted attention, 
while at the same time they were simple in their rig — mostly 
fore-and-aft schooners, though in after years the}' built and 
put afloat quite a large number of brigs and steamboats. 
Capt. Jones was the most successful so far as sail vessels 
were concerned. His style of sparring vessels, cut and 
proportion of sails, etc., was quite different from any other 
before introduced upon the lakes. The foremast was stepped 
further forward, the mainmast further aft, giving greater 
spread to the foresail, which is an important item when 


hauled upon the wind. Capt. Jones's vessels were always 
known in the distance by their masts being wider apart, as 
well as their great length of gaffs, both fore and aft, a dis- 
tinguishing feature which characterized them from other 
vessels of that day. 

I have been thus minute for the purpose of contrasting 
the sail craft of my youth with those of the present day — 
showing what changes and improvements we have lived to 
witness upon these inland seas. A few years later, almost 
all the ports between this and Detroit built and owned a 
representative steamboat. 

Previous to the opening of Buffalo harbor in 1820, the 
majority of sail vessels, as well as the steamer YValk-in-the- 
Water, went to Black Rock, and were obliged to be towed 
up the rapids, unless so fortunate as to catch a strong north- 
wardly wind to bring them up under canvas, a rare thing in 
summer, requiring at least a 10-knot breeze to stem the cur- 
rent. This towing process was a regular business, employ- 
ing from eight to 14 yoke of oxen. The sailors commonly 
called this towing the "horn breeze." This enterprise was 
almost always superintended by Capt. Sheldon Thompson, it 
being an operation that required much care and good judg- 
ment, both in the management of this long team as well as 
the manner of securing the hawser to the masthead, and the 
necessary number of boats that served to buoy up the hawser 
between the ship and the shore, as well as their relative posi- 
tion. These boats (some dozen in number) were built ex- 
pressly for that purpose. They were placed about 50 feet 
apart ; the hawsers used were from 200 to 300 fathoms long, 
as it was necessary to shear-board out into the stream, while 
passing Brace's ferry, a shoal place at that point. Two sizes 
were required, a six-inch line for towing large vessels, and 
a four-inch for small ones. As a general thing these vessels 
were towed nearly up to the mouth of our present harbor, 
and when the tow line was cast off from the vessel it required 
no small amount of labor to haul on shore and coil away in 
boats that length of cordage and get it back again to Black 
Rock — a fact to which. I suppose, our worthy and respected 
citizen, Sheldon Pease, can bear testimonv. He, then a 


mere boy some 15 or 16 years of age, was known as the head 
teamster, and from these years of experience in this laborious 
enterprise, became proficient in that, as well as other 
branches of industry connected with our lake trade. 

Captain Thompson, in early life, had some considerable 
experience at sea, which gave him a pretty thorough ac- 
quaintance with most matters connected with nautical life- 
He was one of that class of self-made men that could work 
with head and hands, if need be; always industrious, frugal 
and temperate in those habits of life which did not fail to en- 
sure a competency. 

From 1822 to 1836 I was interested in sail and steam 
vessels, in which the firm of S. Thompson & Co. were con- 
cerned, and acted as their agent and consignee. My first 
steamer bore the name of my friend, Sheldon Thompson. 

From 1817 to the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825,. 
most sail craft were obliged to lay up during two months or 
more in summer for the want of sufficient up-freight to keep 
them in commission, down cargoes at that date being very 
limited, confined mostly to a few furs and peltries, a small 
quantity of Indian sugar and white fish, the only exports 
from the West. Most of the merchandise from Xew York, 
bound westward, was transported by Durham boats, or 
batteaux, up the Mohawk River, through the Utica and 
Rome Canal, down Wood Creek, across the Oneida Lake, 
down the Oneida, Seneca and Oswego rivers, round the 
portage at Oswego falls, thence across Lake Ontario to 
Lewiston, up Lewiston heights by portage, round Niagara 
Falls, with the slow process of teams to Schlosser's landing 
(then called Fort Schlosser), then taken in batteaux or Dur- 
ham boats to Black Rock harbor. Capt. James Sloan, 
Capt. Stevens, Capt. Philip IT. Weishnan and Capt. Charles 
monopolized the boating business on the Xiagara River be- 
tween Schlosser and Black Rock, which at that day was an 
important branch of trade, being connected with Porter, 
Barton & Co., who had at that time a charter granted by the 
State Legislature, giving them the exclusive privilege of all 
the transit of merchandise, salt, etc., round the falls, for 
some 19 years, which had not expired when the Erie Canal 


was opened. Some merchandise, however, found its transit 
from Albany to the lakes, by the tardy way of wagons drawn 
by six or eight-horse teams to this port. Vessels were often 
detained one or two weeks after they commenced taking in 
their lading- waiting the arrival of those teams for sufficient 
goods to complete their cargo. In the meantime they could, 
as a general thing, learn by the arrival of the stage coach 
that came daily with the mail ( unless prevented by bad 
roads), what time they passed the freight wagons and the 
time those big teams might be expected to arrive at Buf- 
falo or Black Rock. Those slow, but formidable establish- 
ments were commonly called Pennsylvania teams. The tires 
of their wagon wheels were some 10 to 12 inches wide, 
serving a two-fold purpose — preventing them from falling 
into the deep ruts made by narrow tires, and keeping them 
from smashing the highway as they passed along. This 
exempted that class of vehicles from toll-gate fees, etc., 
which were quite an item in those days when turnpike gates 
were so frequent. 

But when the Erie Canal between Buffalo and the Hud- 
son River was opened through valley and mountain, con- 
necting the great chain of lakes with the ocean, a new im- 
pulse was given to our city and trade. As the terminus of 
this great thoroughfare was first at Black Rock Dam it 
stirred anew the spirit of rivalry that had existed for years 
between the business men of Black Rock and Buffalo, a feel- 
ing which did not abate in the least until the canal was 
finally completed to its conjunction with Buffalo Creek. 
About this time most of the business men residing at Black 
Rock moved and established themselves in this city. Among 
the number were Capt. Sheldon Thompson, James L. Barton, 
John L. Kimberly, James McKnight, Phineas Brintnal, John 
D. Harty, Capt. Levi Allen, Archibald Allen, Stearns & 
Cutter, Judge McPherson, Lester Bran. Capt. William T. 
Pease, Henry Daw, John Pease, Joseph Barton, Doctor Bliss 
and others, most of whom were residents of Black Rock 
from 1S17 to 1820 and '21. In 1.827 I changed my residence 
from Black Rock to Buffalo, and in 1830 removed to Huron, 
Ohio, where mv first efforts at steamboat building and sail- 


ing commenced. I resided there until 1842. at which time I 
returned with my famih to this city. During the 1 J years of 
my residence in Ohio I established and carried on a shipyard 
for the purpose of building niy own boats, and during that 
period designed and built a number of steamers, and was 
otherwise interested in the forwarding and commission busi- 
ness under the firm name of Wickam, Walker & Co. 

Among the principal business men residing at Buffalo in 
18 17 to 1820 were Reuben B. Heacock and Horace Griffin 
of the firm of Heacock & Griffin ; also Grosvenor & Heacock, 
George Burt, Burt & Goodrich, John Lay of the firm of 
Hart & Lay ; E. D. Efner, William Bryant, Joshua Gillet, 
Benjamin Fowler, a Mr. Badger, and a Mr. Lazalere, a 
jeweler. These gentlemen were the largest, in fact, almost 
the only merchants at that day in the city. All these mer- 
chants, if I remember rightly, were located on the west side 
of Main Street, scattered along from the corner on the Ter- 
race-where Joshua Gillet kept what was then called a whole- 
sale liquor store in the old stone building which afterwards 
was owned by Jonathan Sidway, extending up to the corner 
where the Erie County Savings Bank is now located," though 
Burt & Goodrich's store stood much farther up street.- By 
the rapid advance in the price of real estate in these localities, 
the fortunes of these men, greatly increased, and especially 
was Mr. Sidway's estate augmented. Stephen Clark at that 
time owned and kept an inn near the present locality of the 
Commercial buildings, and nearly opposite where Glenny's 
crockery store now stands was a small tenement occupied by 
Mr. Asaph Bemis, as a bakery. Mr. Landon was then an 
innkeeper in the village, where the present Mansion House 
is located. Mr. Pomeroy, better known at that time by the 
Indian name of Old Tauwah, kept a good-sized inn on the 
corner of Seneca and Main streets, where Brown's building 
now stands. ( )ld L nele Reese, as he was called, the oldest 
blacksmith in town, had his shop located near the present 
custom house [Washington and Seneca streets]. 

On the west corner of Seneca and Main stood a tem- 

* Main and Erie streets, present site of the American Express Company's 


porary dwelling, occupied by Oliver Newberry as a grocery 
store. His trade was largely with the natives, as they 
were the most numerous at that da}'. There was quite 
a traffic in pelts and furs which Mr. Newberry, in a 
great, degree, monopolized. Mr. Newberry was eccentric. 
He invariably wore an Indian blanket coat in winter. He 
was what was commonly called a self-made man. relying 
entirely upon his own good judgment in all matters of busi- 
ness ; prompt and highly honorable in all his dealings. His 
memory seemed almost to preclude the necessity of keeping 
anything like * regular set of books. About the year 1824 
or '2? Mr. Newberry located in Detroit, and from that period 
became identified with our lake marine, while at the same 
time he entered more largely into the fur and fish trade, 
generally furnishing freights for his own vessels, and for 
the last 35 years of his life was largely interested in the gen- 
eral commerce of the lakes. He built and put afloat quite a 
fleet of sail and steam vessels. He had a peculiar fancy for 
the names of his sail vessels, calling most of them after 
something connected with the history of Napoleon Bona- 
parte. Among them were the schooners Marengo, Napoleon, 
Marshal Ney, Austerlitz and Lodi. Others of his sail craft 
were the brig Manhattan and schooner Pilot. The Manhat- 
tan was one of the most finished brigs of her time ; she was 
wrecked the second season in a snow storm on Point Abino. 
His steamers were the Michigan (the first and second), the 
Illinois (the first and second), the Oliver Newberry and the 
Nile. Mr. Newberry in earlier years was interested as a 
stockholder in many steamers besides his own. Some three 
or four were built under my supervision in which he was 
interested and was their agent and consignee at Detroit. 

In this connection I must not omit to speak of General 
Charles M. Reed. Though not a resident of Buffalo it gives 
me pleasure to associate his name with the leading men who 
have been the means in years past of promoting the business 
of the lakes. His fleet of sail and steam vessels, the majority 
of which have been built and managed at this port, together 
with his large amount of real estate in our city, entitle him 
to more than a passing notice. Mr. Reed has been identified 


with the lake marine almost fnmi its infancy. Few men 
have contributed more liberally in creating facilities for the 
development of the Western States. From the first organi- 
zation of the different steamboat lines his boats ( with a feu- 
exceptions ) always ranked among the first class. The lyimes 
of "his steamers were the William Peacock and Pennsylvania 
(these two boats commanded by our late fellow-townsman. 
Captain John Fleeharty ) ; the Thomas Jefferson, com- 
manded by Capt. Thomas Wilkins, one of our veteran sail- 
ors ; the James Madison, first commanded by Capt. R. C. 
Bristol, afterwards, and for many years, under the charge of 
Capt. McFadden, who was drowned some years since near 
the mouth of Green Bay, Lake Michigan ; the Buffalo, com- 
manded by Capt. Levi Allen ; the Erie, commanded by Capt. 
J. F. Titus; the Missouri, under the command of Capt. 
Wilkins : the Niagara, Capt W. T. Pease, and others ; the 
Keystone State, Capt. Stone and Capt. Richards ; the Queen 
City, named in honor of our city, was commanded by Capt. 
J. F. Titus, who after a period of 30 years sailing some of 
our best boats, was drowned in attempting to land passen- 
gers in a yawl boat on the coast of Lake Michigan, some 
years since. The steamer Buffalo was in part owned by 
Jacob A. Barker and Capt. Levi Allen. She was the fastest 
boat upon tlie lakes, in her time, until the steamer Cleveland 
came out ; she was considered to be somewhat faster. 

The Hollisters, William, the eldest, and his brothers, 
John, James, Joseph, Robert, George and Frank, are among 
the man}' men who have contributed their full share in years 
past to developing the resources of the West, and from an 
early date became interested in the commerce of the lakes. 
They have built and owned a large fleet of sail and steam 
vessels, among them the steamer Anthony Wayne, more 
commonly called Mad Anthony. She came out under the 
command of Capt. Amos Fratt. The steamer St. Louis and 
propeller Princeton were built by these gentlemen, and if I 
remember rightly, brought under the command of Capt. 
Pratt. The St. Louis was subsequently commanded by Capt. 
George Floyd. They also built the propeller Samson. She 
was commanded by Capt. Richard F. Robertson. The pro- 


peller Hercules was under the command of Capt. Frederick 

In 1817, as hefore stated, there were but 19 merchant 
vessels upon the lakes above the falls. Only eight of these 
vessels were over 50 tons burden. In 18 18 the number had 
increased to 28, with an aggregate of 1,586 tons, including 
the steamboat Walk-in-the-Water, which came out that year. 
The number of seamen then employed on board these vessels 
did not exceed 180 all told. The English at that time had a 
few vessels in commission upon the lakes, not to exceed six 
in number, all small craft, except the brig Wellington of 165 
tons, which was considered a large craft. She was owned 
by the British Northwest Fur Company, and commanded by 
Capt. Mcintosh, a Scotchman. This brig, when under way, 
presented a fine appearance. She was the only craft of that 
rig upon the lakes at that time. 

In 1832 the number of our vessels had increased to 47, 
including nine steamboats, with an aggregate of 7,000 tons. 
The whole number of steamers then afloat, did not exceed 
in measurement the tonnage of our present steamer City of 
Buffalo, all combined amounting to 2,026 tons. Yet these 
steamers were of sufficient capacity to do all the passenger 
business through the lake at that time. In fact there was an 
excess of boats, as the steamer Superior was laid up a por- 
tion of that season for want of sufficient traffic to keep her 
in commission. She was laid up under a charter from the 
other boats in the line for the sum of $2500, but was fitted 
out for the purpose of making one trip in July to Chicago 
in the service of the United States Government, during the 
Black Flawk War of that year. 

From that period ship-building greatly increased, as im- 
migration began to pour into the Western States — Ohio, 
Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. In [854 the tonnage was 
132.000; in 1858 it had increased to 404.301, the aggregate 
of 1. 194 sail and steam vessels giving employment to some 
12,000 mariners: and at the present time, 1863, the number 
has increased to [,643 steamers and sail vessels, with an ag- 
gregate of 413.026 tons, giving employment to some 16,000 


Xo steamboat had visited Chicago prior to 1832. In that 
year, four boats were chartered by the United States Gov- 
ernment for the transport of troops, provisions and mu- 
nitions of war to that port : The Henry Clay, under the 
command of Capt. Walter Xorton ; the William Penn, com- 
manded by Capt. John F. Wight ; the Sheldon Thompson, 
under my charge, and the Superior, under the command of 
Capt. William T. Pease. These steamers received $5,500 
each for their services, besides the amount charged for board 
of the officers belonging to the regiment. 

The Henry Clay and Sheldon Thompson sailed from 
Buffalo on the morning of the 2d of July, 1832, laden with 
officers, troops and their equipments. The William Penn 
and Superior sailed a few days later, laden mostly with pro- 
visions, stores, etc., for the army. Put owing to the sudden 
breaking out of the Asiatic cholera, two of these boats, the 
Henry Clay and Superior, were compelled to abandon their 
voyage, proceeding no farther than Fort Gratiot, the head of 
St. Clair River. 

The Henry Clay arrived at Detroit a few hours in ad- 
vance of the Thompson, and while lying at the dock two 
deaths occurred on board from the cholera. This created 
such alarm that the authorities of the city prevailed upon 
the captain to leave the dock. On my arrival at Detroit. I 
found she lay at anchor near the foot of Plog Island, some 
two miles above the city. Up to that time no signs of 
cholera had appeared on board my boat. After remaining a 
short time at the wharf, taking on board fuel, stores, etc., for 
the trip we got under way and went alongside the Henry 
Clay. At this time Tien. Scntt, who was in command of this 
expedition, came on board my boat, accompanied by his staff 
and a number of volunteer officers and cadets, numbering 
some 40, including Gen. Xorth and Col. Cummings, having 
been passengers thus far on board the Henry Clay. One 
company of some 50 soldiers, under Col. Twiggs, also came 
on board from the Clay. 

Leaving her at anchor, we sailed, touching at Fort 
Gratiot, where we landed the same 50 troops and their bag- 
gage, which had entirely overloaded our little steamer; we 


then proceeded on the voyage. The next day the Clay ar- 
rived in the St. Clair River. The disease had become so 
violent and alarming on board of her that nothing like dis- 
cipline could be observed. Everything in the way of sub- 
ordination ceased. As soon as she came to the dock, each 
man sprang on shore, hoping to escape from a scene so ter- 
rifying and appalling ; some fled to the fields, some to the 
woods, while others lay down in the streets and under the 
covert of the river banks, where most of them died, unwept 
and alone. 

There were no cases of cholera causing death on board 
my boat until we passed the Manitou Islands in Lake Michi- 
gan, though we left three sick soldiers and two of the ship's 
orew en Mackinaw Island, with sufficient means placed in 
the hand of our agent, Michael Dowsman, to defray their 
expenses. Three of the five died before we returned to that 
port. The first person who died on board, expired about 
four o'clock in the afternoon on the fifth day out, some 30 
hours before reaching Chicago. As soon as it was ascer- 
tained by the surgeon that life was extinct, the body was 
wrapped closely in a blanket, with weights secured by lash- 
ings of small cordage around the ankles, knees, waist and 
neck, and then committed, with but little ceremony, to the 
deep. This unpleasant, though imperative duty, was per- 
formed by the orderly sergeant, whose name was Davis, with 
a few privates detailed for that purpose. In like manner 12 
others, including this same noble sergeant, who sickened and 
died in a few hours, were also thrown overboard before the 
rest of the troops were landed at Chicago. 

The sudden death of this veteran sergeant and his com- 
mittal to a watery grave, caused a deep sensation on board 
among the soldiers and crew, which I will not here attempt 
to describe, The effect produced upon Gen. Scott and the 
officers was too visible to be misunderstood, for the dead 
soldier had been a valuable man, and evidently a favorite 
among the officers and soldiers of the regiment. He had 
been attached to the service for some 16 years, and at his 
death was about 40 vears of age. His whole demeanor was 


marked by the true characteristics of a soldier — brave, gen- 
erous and considerate in the discharge of duty. 

Xone of the officers of the army was attacked by the dis- 
ease, while on board my boat, with such violence as to result 
in death, or any of the officers belonging to the boat, though 
nearly one fourth of the crew sickened and died on a sub- 
sequent passage from Detroit to Buffalo. 

We arrived in Chicago, or rather came to anchor outside, 
on the evening of the 8th of July. 1832, being six days and 
over making the passage. The yawl boat was immediately 
lowered and sent on shore with Gen. Scott and a number of 
the volunteer officers who accompanied him on his ex- 
pedition against the hostile tribes, who, with Black Hawk, 
had committed many depredations (though, perhaps, not 
without some provocation ) ; compelling the whites to aban- 
don their homes in the country and flee to Chicago, taking 
refuge in the fort for the time being. Before landing the 
troops next morning we were under the painful necessity of 
committing three more to the deep who died during the 
night, making in all 16 who were thus buried. These three 
were anchored to the bottom in three fathoms, the water be- 
ing so clear that their forms could be plainly seen from our 
decks. This unwelcome sight so worked upon the super- 
stitious fears of some of the crew, that I deemed it prudent 
to change anchorage. In the course of the day and night 
following, 18 others died and were interred on a rise of 
ground not far from the lighthouse ( a spot where now 
stands a block of spacious buildings). The earth that was 
removed to cover one, made a grave to receive the next that 
died. * All were buried without coffins or shrouds, except 
their blankets, which served as a winding-sheet, and there 
left without sign of remembrance or a stone to mark their 

During the four clays we remained at Chicago, 54 more 
died, making an aggregate of 88. The scenes of horror oc- 
casioned by this singular disease, then so little known to 
medical science, it would be difficult to describe. Death in 
any form, even in its mildest aspect, is an unpleasant spec- 
tacle to behold, much more when we witness a disease prey- 


ing upon the vitals, tearing the strong man asunder, relaxing 
and contracting the muscles and tendons, and drinking up 
the life's blood, causing the glassy and ghastly eye-balls to 
sink with horrid glare deep within their sockets — a hideous 
sight to contemplate. 

On approaching Chicago we had found a number of sail 
vessels at anchor in the offing. As soon as it was ascertained 
that cholera was on board no time was lost in communicating 
from one vessel to another the intelligence, which induced 
them to weigh anchor at once and stand out to sea, hoping to 
escape the pestilence. In the morning some of these vessels 
were nearly lost in the distance, though in the course of the 
day most of them returned and re-anchored near by, in hail- 
ing distance. Among this fleet were vessels belonging to 
Owen Newberry, Degarma Jones of Detroit and Merwin & 
Giddings of Cleveland, Ohio. These vessels were employed 
in transporting provisions and stores for the Government to 
Chicago, and made a larger fleet than had ever been seen at 
that point- before. The whole population of Chicago at that 
period, aside from a company of troops stationed there, did 
not exceed 45 or 50 souls. But few traces of civilization 
could be seen, after passing the Straits of Mackinaw. Noth- 
ing like lighthouses, or beacon lights, artificial harbors, and 
but few natural ones were in existence; no piers, wood or 
coal yards were established, and not a single village, town 
or city in the whole distance. Chicago then had but five 
buildings, three of which were log tenements ; one of them, 
without a roof, was used as a stable; and two small frame 
dwelling houses, besides the lighthouse and barracks, better 
known as Fort Dearborn, which was evacuated for the ac- 
commodation of the sick troops. Major Whistler and Capt. 
Johnson of the army, and many others with their families, 
took shelter wherever they could — some in tents, others un- 
der boards placed obliquely across fences. 

All the mattresses and bedding belonging to my boat, 
except sufficient for the crew, were taken by order of Gen. 
Scott for the use of the sick, the General giving his draft for 
the purchase of new bedding. This was not only a dt-^d of 
mercy to the sufferers, but a matter of favor to me in pro- 


curing a fresh outfit, so necessary after that disastrous voy- 

a £' e - 

There was no harbor accessible to any craft drawing 
more than two feet of water, barely sufficient to admit the 
batteau in which the troops were landed. This batteau was 
towed by the Thompson from Mackinaw for that purpose 
and to aid in 'landing provisions from the sail vessels then in 

But little could be seen where Chicago now stands, be- 
sides the broad expanse of prairie, with its gentle, undulated 
surface, covered with grass and variegated flowers, stretch- 
ing out far in the distance resembling a great carpet inter- 
woven with green, purple and gold : in one direction 
bounded only by the horizon, with no intervening woodland 
to obstruct the vision. The view, in looking through the 
spy-glass from the upper deck of our steamer, while laying 
in the offing, was most picturesque, presenting a landscape 
interspersed with small groves of underwood. The Chicago 
River, a mere creek, was fordable at its mouth, while it 
wended its way along the beach, flowing into the lake some 
distance south of its present junction. The provisions and 
stores brought by the sail vessels were landed on the beach, 
near the mouth of the river. I remained four days after 
landing the troops, procuring fuel for the homeward voyage. 
The only means of obtaining anything for fuel was to pur- 
chase the rootless log building, that, together with the rail 
fence enclosing a field of some three acres near by. was suf- 
ficient to enable us to reach [Mackinaw. Being drawn to the 
beach and prepared for use, it was boated on board by the 
crew, which operation occupied the most of four days to 

After getting the fuel on board I was detained some six 
hours, waiting the arrival of a gentleman named Harmon, 
for whom 1 had dispatched a messenger, he residing some 
eight miles back in the country. At length he arrived and 
engaged to accompany me as far as Detroit and act as 
physician, having some knowledge in preparing medicines. 
being a druggist. During the delay in waiting for this 
doctor, the crew became uneasv to get under wav, and leave 


behind them the scene so fraught with horror. They had 
become almost mutinous. As soon as orders were given to 
get under way, the celerity with which the yawl was hoisted 
to the stern, was wonderful to see. With a will and a spirit 
of wild joy, accompanied by a hearty song of "Yo heave ho," 
they hove at the windlass ; they seemed almost frantic with 
joy when the steamboat's anchor came in sight and her prow 
turned homeward. 

We had no cases of cholera on our passage to Detroit. 
On our arrival at Mackinaw we were not suffered to. land. 
The agent sent a batteau alongside with some provisions and 
the surviving man of my crew, with orders to take on board 
fuel some few miles distant en Boisblanc Island. While 
laying there the William Penn passed up, laden with stores 
and a few troops for Chicago. On our arrival at Detroit the 
excitement had abated, so that we were allowed to come 
alongside the dock. The physician returned across the coun- 
try, after receiving the stipulated sum for his services, which 
was $200, besides stage fare. When we arrived at Buffalo, 
we found the excitement, as well as the disease, had sub- 
sided, after sweeping away a large number of our citizens." 

The Walk-in-the-Water, the pioneer steamboat above the 
Falls, was built at Black Rock in 1S1S, under the super- 
vision of Xoah Brown of the firm of Adam and Noah 
Brown, who were then the most celebrated naval architects 
in the city of New York, having had a varied experience in 
that line, erecting ships for the ocean and for our navy on 
Lakes Erie and Ontario during the War of 1S12. Mr. 
Brown brought with him from Xew York a gang of 30 ship- 
carpenters, and a foreman named Landsbury, who had 
charge of the yard. The facility with which this boat was 
built was due in a great measure to the mechanics of Black- 
Rock. Messrs. Stanard, Bidwell and Davidson, with all the 

* For an account of the ravages of this cholera epidemic in Buffalo, see The 
Cholera in Buffalo in 1832, by Hon. Lewis F. Allen. Buffalo Historical Society 
Publications, vol. IV. 



behind them the scene so fraught with horror. They had 
become almost mutinous. As soon as orders were given to 
get under way, the celerity with which the yawl was hoisted 
to the stern, was wonderful to see. With a will and a spirit 
of wild joy, accompanied by a hearty song of "Yo heave ho," 
they hove at the windlass ; they seemed almost frantic with 
joy when the steamboat's anchor came in sight and her prow 
turned homeward. 

We had no cases of cholera on our passage to Detroit. 
On our arrival at Mackinaw we were not suffered to. land. 
The agent sent a batteau alongside with some provisions and 
the surviving man of my crew, with orders to take on board 
fuel some few miles distant on Boisblanc Island. While 
laying there the William Penn passed up, laden with stores 
and a few troops for Chicago. ( )n our arrival at Detroit the 
excitement had abated, so that we were allowed to come 
alongside the dock. The physician returned across the conn- 
try, after receiving the stipulated sum for his services, which 
was $200. besides stage fare. When we arrived at Buffalo, 
we found the excitement, as well as the disease, had sub- 
sided, after sweeping away a large number of our citizens." 

The Walk-in-the-Water, the pioneer steamboat above the 
Falls, was built at Black Rock in 1S1S, under the super- 
vision of Xoah Brown of the firm of Adam and Xoah 
Brown, who were then the most celebrated naval architects 
in the city of Xew York, having had a varied experience in 
that line, erecting ships for the ocean and for our navy on 
Lakes Erie and Ontario during the War of 1S12. Mr. 
Brown brought with him from Xew York a gang of 30 ship- 
carpenters, and a foreman named Landsbury, who had 
charge of the yard. The facility with which this boat was 
built was (\iw in a great measure to the mechanics of Black 
Rock. Messrs. Stanard, Bid well and Davidson, with all the 

* For an account of the ravaces of this cholera epidemic in R.ufTalo, see The 
Cholera in Buffalo in 1$32, by Hon. Lewis F. Allen. Buffalo Historical Society 
Publications, vol. IV. 


carpenters in their employ, were engaged in the construction 
of that steamer. Her blacksmithing was mostly clone by 
Henry Daw. 

Tlie Walk-in-the-Water was launched on Thursday, May 
28, 181S. She was built sidewise to the river and launched 
in that way, which was rather novel at that time, but much 
practiced since, as it is found to be much cheaper and safer 
than the old way of launching- stern foremost. She sailed on 
her first trip to Detroit, Sunday, Aug. 23, 18 18, and from 
the account given in the Niagara Patriot of that time, she 
was hull down in less than two hours after the towline was 
cast oft. She was never able to ascend the rapids with her 
own steam power. She was under the command of Capt. 
Job Fish, who came on from the seaboard for that purpose. 
Capt. John Davis, her first mate and pilot, was familiar with 
the navigation of the lakes. Capt. Fish was in command 
that and the following season, but from some cause was not 
very popular as a steamboat captain. In 1820 she was placed 
under the command of Capt. Jeciediah Rogers from 'New 
York. Though his experience was limited as a sailor, he 
was in the broadest sense a gentleman, and his courteous 
manner made this boat quite popular with the traveling 

This boat was first built by individual subscriptions by a 
few gentlemen residing at Albany, Troy and Xew York- 
City. The manager, or agent, was J. B. Stuart, commonlv 
called Sailor Stuart, a gentleman of fine address and g'ood 
business qualities. In 18 19 these gentlemen obtained a char- 
ter from the Legislature, enabling them to organize an as- 
sociation to be called the Lake Erie Steamboat Company, 
with a capital of $70,000, an amount which probably more 
than covered the original cost of that boat, but whether the 
investment was ever a profitable one, may be doubted, as the 
expense of running the boat was great, and the number of 
passengers few. Yet from the exorbitant prices charged for 
passage at that period, it might be inferred that large divi- 
dends were made by her owners. The cabin fare was first 
.fixed at $8 from Buffalo to Erie. Si 2 to Grand River, $15 to 
Cleveland, S20 to Sanduskv, including the lighterage from 


Cunningham's Island, which in those days was done in a 
sailboat, kept expressly for that purpose, as there was not 
sufficient water at all times to admit the steamer. The chan- 
nel over the bar into Sandusky bay was scarcely six feet. 
The fare to Detroit was $24, steerage or deck passage in the 
same proportion. In 1820 the fare was reduced from Buf- 
falo to Erie, to $5 ; to Grand River $7, to Cleveland $10, to 
Sandusky $13 and to Detroit $15. The mails were carried 
to the several ports by this boat, which, at that time, was 
considered an expeditious mode of transit. 

In June, 1820, this boat made a trip to Mackinaw with 
United States troops. In August she made another trip to 
Mackinaw, an excursion of pleasure. The following year, 
1 82 1, she made a trip from Black Rock to Detroit, [Macki- 
naw and Green Bay, having on board a detachment of troops 
under command of Major Watson. They arrived there after 
a short passage of eight days. She sailed from Black Rock 
the 28th of July, arrived at Green Bay the 5th of August, 
and returned to Black Rock on the 15th hist. 

She was wrecked, Thursday. Nov. 1st, 1821, on the beach 
of the lake, near the south pier of our present harbor, after 
riding to anchor in the bay most of the previous night in one 
of those violent gales that often visited our lakes. She came 
on shore about five o'clock in the morning without any in- 
jury to passengers or their baggage. Capt. \Ym. T. Miller, 
late of this city, was pilot on board at the time of the dis- 

She was about 150 feet in length, 28 feet breadth of beam 
and sufficiently deep in the hold to admit the main shaft to 
pass through her side some feet below the main deck. She 
was 338 80-95 tons custom house measurement. Her quar- 
ter, or poop deck, was raised five feet above the main deck, 
and through this bulkhead, or break, as it was called, was 
the companion door or entrance into the gentlemen's cabin, 
and immediatelv back of this was the ladies' cabin, divided 
by folding doors. The ladies' cabin was lighted by the stern 
windows, six in number, and by a narrow skylight, extend- 
ing forward over the gentlemen's cabin. She had no upper 
deck ; the lower or main deck served as a promenade, with 


an awning stretched over it and the quarter deck in fine 
weather. Her steerage accommodations were located for- 
ward below decks. 

She was rigged with two spars for the purpose of carry- 
ing sail. These masts were so arranged with tackles as to be 
easily lowered away on deck whenever the wind blew ad- 
versely. Her machinery was of that denomination called a 
square or cross-head low-pressure engine, quite complicated 
in its parts, with ponderous fly-wheels and a superabundance 
of counterbalance weight, which, at that day, was considered 
indispensable to aid in carrying the engine over the dead 
center, or point when steam has no power upon the piston. 
Her main cylinder was 40 inches diameter, four feet stroke ; 
her boiler was some 14 feet diameter, of the most simple 
construction, with two large direct tines, and four return 
flues, terminating in the chimney above the arch of the fur- 
nace. About one fourth of the boiler was necessarily above 
the main deck, with circular covering or deck over it. Her 
wheels were 15 feet in diameter and live feet length of 
bucket. She had no guards except round the paddle-boxes. 
The average speed of this boat in favorable weather was 
about six or seven miles per hour. When the wind was fresh 
ahead she made a harbor, or came to anchor outside. She 
was rather an imposing-looking craft, having a finely set 
figurehead (the bust of Perry), and upon the stern, or tart- 
rail, were some beautiful decorations of heavy carved work, 
tastefully relieved by white, green and gold. 

The engine of the Walk-in-the-Water, after she was 
wrecked, was placed on board the steamboat Superior, built 
at this city by the same company, and remained on board 
during her existence as a steamboat, then placed on the 
steamer Charles Townsend, commanded by Capt. Simon 
Fox ; there used for many years. At this time, and for 
many years past, the main cylinder of that pioneer engine is 
now in daily use as a blowing cylinder in Shepard & Co.'s 
steam engine works in this citv. 





A passenger on its last trip, 182 1. 

The first steamboat built on the upper lakes was named 
the Walk-in-the- Water, not only for its appropriateness, but 
for a chief of the Wyandot Indians, who lived with his band 
.about 12 miles below Detroit, on the margin of the Detroit 
River. His Indian name was Mier, and signified a turtle 
.and his totem or signature was the figure of a turtle. 

The boat was built at Black Rock, which place continued 
for some time to be her most eastern port and the terminus 
of her route. Buffalo at that time having no pier or dock to 
accommodate her. She was hauled up the rapids by 16 
yoke of oxen, aided by the power of her engine. She made 
her trial trip in August, 1818. I was a passenger on her first 
regular trip as well as her last. She left Buffalo on her first 
regular trip, Wednesday morning. Sept. I, 1818. She carried 
at that time considerable freight and a large number of pas- 
sengers, among whom were the Carl of Selkirk, Lady Sel- 
kirk, and two children ; Col. Dixon, the British Indian agent 
for the Northwest ; Col. John Anderson, United States En- 
gineers, his wife, and wife's sister. Miss Taylor; Col. 
Leavenworth, L. S. A., wife and daughter : Col. Joseph 
Watson of Washington City, and Maj. Abraham Edwards. 


She reached Detroit about 9 o'clock Sunday morning, Sept. 
5th, and as she ushered in a new era in the navigation of the 
upper lakes, her arrival was hailed with delight and an- 
nounced by the firing of one gun, which custom was con- 
tinued for many years. Capt. Job Fish, I think, was her 
commander at that time.* 

It so happened that on my return from Xew York with 
my husband, .Mr. Thomas Palmer, and his sister, now Mrs. 
Catharine Hinchman of Detroit, we arrived in Buffalo just 
in time to take passage on her last trip. She lay at the pier 
on the middle ground. We went on board in a yawl. The 
Walk-in-the- Water immediately got under way at 4 o'clock 
p. m., the last day of October, 1821, and steamed up the lake. 
Before we reached Point Abino the wind came on to blow a 
gale. Captain Rogers, her commander at that time, made 
every effort to get behind the Point, but the wind was too 
strong ahead. It rained incessantly, the night was very 
dark, and to add to the danger of the situation, the boat be- 
gan to leak badly. About 8 o'clock, the captain, finding it 
impossible to proceed, put about and steered for Buffalo. 
The sailing master ( Miller) proposed running the boat into 
the river and anchoring, but the captain said it was so dark 
that she might strike the pier in the attempt, and in such case 
no human power could save a soul on board. The boat was 
run within a few miles of the pier, as the captain supposed, 
no light from the lighthouse being visible, although as we 
afterwards learned it had been kept brightly burning. Three 
anchors were dropped, one with chain, and two viih hempen 
cables. The boat plunged heavily at her ancli .age. This, 
I think, was about eo o'clock in the evening, i ne leak con- 
tinued to increase. The vvhok' power of the engine was ap- 
plied to the pumps. The boat dragged her anchors. 

* During her short carter the \\ 'alk-in-the-Water carried many notable pas- 
sengers: among other-. Gen. Peter l>. Porter, and other officials, of the Y. S. 
Boundary Commission, under the Treaty of Ghent-, Gen. Winfield Scott, and other 
officers and troops, en route to Western posts. Lt was customary, after a success- 
ful passage; for her officers to publish testimonials, signed by distinguished pas- 
sengers, certifying to the safety, etc., of* the steamer. The columns of the yiagaia 
Patriot in 1819 and '20 contain several of these impressive voucher*, which pretty 
clearly indicate, by the emphasis laid on the boat's safety, that a part of the public 
must have steadfastly disputed that point. 


The night was one of terrible suspense. It was the im- 
pression of the greater number of those on board that we 
should never see the morning. The water gained gradually, 
despite every exertion, and it became evident as the night 
wore on, that the boat must founder or be run on shore, 
which the captain concluded, either from the sound of the 
breakers or from calculation of distances and courses, could 
not be far off. 

Most of the passengers were calm. One instance of cool- 
ness I remember. A Air. Thurston, when requested to go 
on deck and prepare for the worst, replied: "No; I have 
great faith in Captain Rogers. He promised to land me in 
Cleveland, and I know that he will do it.' 1 He wrapt his 
cloak around him and lay down on a settee. 

About half past four o'clock in the morning the captain 
sent down for all the passengers to come on deck. He had 
decided, although ignorant of the exact location, to permit 
the boat to go on shore. We could see no lights. The chain 
cable was slipped, and the two hempen ones cut. Drifting 
before the gale, the Walk-in-the- Water, in about a half an 
hour, grazed the beach. The next swell let her down with a 
crash of crockery and glass, and the third lifting her farther 
up the shore, fixed her immovably in the sand. The swells 
made a clean breach over the decks. Some of the ladies 
were in their nightclothes, and all were repeatedly drenched. 

When daylight came, a sailor succeeded in getting ashore 
in a small boat with one end of a hawser, which he tied to a 
tree, the other end being tied on board. By the aid of the 
hawser all the passengers were taken ashore in the small 
boat. I was handed down by the captain to a sailor in the 
small boat, who placed me on a seat. My husband was not 
so fortunate. A swell carried the yawl ahead just as he 
jumped and he went into the water shoulder deep. Ashore, 
we found ourselves about a mile above the lighthouse* in 

* Henry Haw's MS. history of the Walk-in-the-Water, in the Historical So- 
ciety's archives, says: "'about eighty rods east of the lighthouse." Xot far from 
this spot the schooner Kingbird, bound for Portland, with a cartro of salt, was 
wrecked, Nov. 6. 1819. In the same gale the Hriti-h schooner Elizabeth was blown 
ashore below the mouth of Buffalo Creek. These wrecks stimulated the citizens of 
the village of Buffalo in their determination to make a harbor. 


dismal plight, but thankful for the preservation of our lives. 
In company with a Mr. Cahoon [Calhoun], who was engi- 
neer of the steamer, 1 ran to the lighthouse. After the lapse 
of so long a time, it seems to me that I almost flew along the 
beach, my exhilaration was so great. 

The lighthouse-keeper, anticipating wrecks or disasters 
( I think signal guns had been fired during the night on 
board the Walk-in-the-W'ater ), had a roaring fire in Ids 
huge fireplace, by which we remained until carriages came 
down for us from Buffalo. The citizens had supposed it 
impossible that the boat could live through the night, and 
when at break of day she was descried upon the beach, their 
efforts were directed to the care of the passengers and crew. 
All that could be done for our comfort was done. We were 
taken to the Landon House, a two-story frame building, 
then the principal hotel in Buffalo. It stood on the brow of 
the hill as we went up town from the creek. 

We returned to Detroit by wagon, through Canada, a 
trip occupying two weeks. 

The clay after we got back to Buffalo Capt. Rogers called 
upon me, and, in the course of conversation, told me that his 
assurances to us of safety during the storm, were anything 
but heartfelt : that during the gale he had secured the boat's 
papers on his person, thinking that should the boat and he be 
lost his body would be washed ashore and they would be re- 

Among the passengers now remembered, were Major Jed 
Hunt, Lieut. McKenzie, U. S. A. ; John Hale, then a mer- 
chant of Canandaigua. afterwards a merchant of Detroit; 
Jason Thurston of Michigan, Rev. Mr. Hart, a missionary 
to Michigan, and wife; John S. Hudson and wife, and a 
Miss Osborn, who were on their way to Fort Gratiot, Michi- 
gan, to establish a mission for the Indians; Mr. and Mrs. 
Latimer. Mr. Palmer, myself and Mrs. Palmer's sister, now 
Mrs. Catharine Hinchman of Detroit. 

A young gentleman of Buffalo, named J. D. Mathies, 
went down to the beach where the wreck lay, and being an 
amateur artist, took sketches of it in two different positions, 
painted them and sent them to me at Detroit. They are now 


deposited among the archives of the Michigan Historical 

The deck of the Walk-in-the- Water was like those of 
sailing' vessels of the present day. The cabins were beneath 
the main deck, the afterpart partitioned off for ladies ; the 
rest was devoted to gentlemen and answered for a lodging, 
dining and baggage room. The mast ran down through the 
gentlemen's cabin, and that part in the cabin was set in octa- 
gon with small mirrors. 

In visiting the wreck a few days after the disaster, T re- 
member that, as it lay broadside on, I could almost walk 
around it dry shod, the sand had been deposited around it to 
such an extent. The oakum had worked out of the seams in 
the deck for yards, and the panel-work had become dis- 
jointed in many places. 

Note. — There are in the archives of the Buffalo Historical Society numerous 
other MSS. relating to lake harbors and the early lake marine. Besides the 
voluminous memoranda of Capt. Augustus Walker already referred to (p. -S7) 
there is a very detailed but unliterary history of the Walkdn-the-Water by 
Henry Daw, who helped build her; a picturesque memoir of Mr. Daw himself, 
.by Henry W. Rogers; A History of Black Rock Harbor, Pier, Water Power and 
Flouring Mills, by Richard Williams; Lake Travel and Building in Buffalo, 
i6'j?-'5J, being the recollections of Jesse Peck; miscellaneous papers of Capt. 
Daniel Dobbins relating to the lakes, 181J-1854; and numerous other unpub- 
lished records which shed light on the early years of lake traffic. Some of these 
will no doubt appear in subsequent volumes of the Buffalo Historical Society 
Pu'olicatio)is; and all may 'be freely consulted at any time at the Society's 


ACT IN 1885. 


Superintendent of Xew York State Reservation at Niagara since its establishment. 

When the Legislature of the State of Xew York con- 
vened in 1885, preliminary steps for the establishment of the 
State Reservation at Niagara had been taken. In a message 
to the Legislature, Jan. 9, 1879, Governor Robinson referred 
to a conference with Lord Du florin and suggested the ap- 
pointment of a commission to confer with the authorities of 
Ontario concerning the preservation of the scenery of the 
Falls of Niagara. May 19, 1879, the Commissioners of the 
State Survey were instructed by a joint resolution of the 
Legislature, "to inquire, consider and report, what, if any, 
measures it may lie expedient for the State to adopt for 
carrying out the suggestions contained in the annual mes- 
sage of the Governor with respect to Niagara Falls." 

The commissioners instructed Mr. James T. Gardner, 
Director of the State Survey, and Mr. Frederick Law Olm- 
sted, to make an examination of the premises and to prepare 
a plan for consideration. On March 22, 1880, Hon. Horatio 
Seymour, President of the State Survey Board, transmitted 
a special report to the Legislature on the preservation of the 
scenery of the Falls of Niagara ; recommending the extin- 
guishment of the private titles to certain lands immediately 


adjacent to the falls, which the State should acquire by pur- 
chase and hold in trust for the people forever. 

A bill to authorize the selection of lands for a state reser- 
vation in the village of Niagara Falls, was introduced in the 
Legislature in 1880, and passed the Assembly, but did not 
pass the Senate. In i8c8i a similar bill was introduced in the 
Assembly by lion. James Low, then representing the Second 
District of Niagara County ; but owing to the well-known 
opposition of Governor Cornell to the project, the measure 
was abandoned. During the session of 1882, Governor Cor- 
nell being yet in office, no effort was made to secure the pas- 
sage of the Niagara Reservation bill. 

In November, 1882, Grover Cleveland was elected Gov- 
ernor. Being a resident of the western part of the State, it 
was assumed that he was in favor of the preservation of the 
scenery of the Falls of Niagara. On Dec. 6, 18S2, a meeting 
of gentlemen was held at the residence of Mr. Howard Pot- 
ter in New York City, to consider measures for the advance- 
ment of the Niagara movement. Addresses were made by 
Messrs. Olmsted, Potter, Dorsheimcr, Norton. Harrison and 
others. A committee, consisting of Messrs. J. Hampden 
Robb, Buchanan Winthrop, James T. Gardner, J. T. Van 
Rensselaer and Francis IT. Weeks, was appointed to proceed 
in the matter and to report at a future meeting, which was 
held at [Municipal Flail, No, by Madison Avenue, on the 
evening of Jan. 11, 1883. Mr. D. Willis James presided. 
The committee, previously appointed, reported in favor oi 
the formation of an association, the object of which should 
be the preservation of the scenery of the Falls of Niagara. 
by legislative enactment. The organization was called "The 
Niagara Falls Association," and the following officers were 
elected : President, Floward Potter : vice-presidents, Daniel 
Huntington, Geo, William Curtis. Cornelius Yanderbilt : 
secretary, Robert Lenox Belknap; treasurer, Chas. Lanier: 
executive committee, J. Hampden Robb, Buchanan Winth- 
rop, James T. Gardner, J. T. Van Rensselaer, Francis H. 
Weeks, Robt. W. DeForest ; corresponding secretary, Rev 
J. B. Ffarrison. 

Invitations to become members were sent out bv the 



president, and soon the membership grew to 327, mostly 
residents of Xew York City and Boston, but including mem- 
bers from many of the cities of the Union, the nearest to 
Niagara Falls being Hon. Sherman S. Rogers of Buffalo, 
and the farthest away being Mrs. Brown and Alex. H. 
Brown, Mi D., of London, England. The eighth name upon 
the list of members is Edward D. Adams, afterward presi- 
dent of the Xiagara Falls Power Company. Many women 
were included in the membership of the association. Each 
member paid an entrance fee of $10, by which means a fund 
of $3,270 was accumulated, which was increased by dona- 
tions. The Xiagara Falls Association was destined to exer- 
cise a great influence in favor of the passage of the Xiagara 
Reservation acts of 1883 and 1885. 

A bill, drawn by" the direction of the executive committee, 
was introduced by Hon. Jacob F. Miller of Xew York City, 
and passed the Assembly and Senate, and on April 30, 1883, 
was signed by Governor Cleveland and became a law. 
William Dorsheimer, Sherman S. Rogers, Andrew H. Green, 
J. Hampden Robb and Martin B. Anderson were appointed 
commissioners under the act of 1883. On June 9, 1883, they 
met at Xiagara Falls and selected the desired lands. A 
survey by the State Engineer was ordered, and it was made 
under the direction of Thomas Evershed, Division Engineer 
of the State canals, whose name will be forever associated 
not only with the preservation of the scenery of Niagara, but 
with the utilization of Xiagara's power. 

The making of the survey was a long and difficult work. 
During the legislative session of 1884, additional legislation, 
introduced by Hon. George Clinton of Buffalo, was ob- 
tained relating to the appraisement. Early in 1884, Luther 
R. Marsh, Pascal P. Pratt and Mathew Flale, appraisers, 
were appointed, and the work of appraisal was carried on 
during the summer months. At its completion their report 
was made to the commissioners, and by them submitted to 
the Supreme Court, by which it was confirmed. The total 
awards were St, 433.429.50. 

Such was the situation at the opening of the legislative 
session of 1885, when an application was made for an ap- 


propriation to provide for the payment of the awards made 
for the lands selected and located by the Commissioners of 
the Stale Reservation at Niagara, and it is toward the suc- 
cessful efforts made to obtain such appropriation that special 
attention is directed. 

A bill was prepared, providing- for the appropriation of 
the total amount of the awards out of any moneys in the 
State Treasury, applicable to the purpose. This proposition 
was not looked upon with favor by the State officers who did 
not wish to quit office with a depleted treasury, such as this 
measure would entail. This feeling was strongly expressed 
by Comptroller Chapin, who, as Speaker of the Assembly, 
in 1883, withheld the announcement of the result of the vote 
upon the Reservation bill until a sufficient number of votes 
could be obtained to secure its passage. This feeling was 
also shared by the State Treasurer and the heads of other 
departments, and it soon became evident that the State of- 
ficials at Albany looked upon the measure with coldness and 

After the organization of the Legislature, Hon. Walter 
P. Home, then representing the Second District of Niagara 
County in the Assembly, stated that the sentiment of the 
members appeared to be unfriendly, and that the prospects 
for the passage of the measure were not favorable. In many 
counties of the State, granges and other organizations of 
farming people had adopted resolutions denouncing the 
measure, and in consequence the opposition to the measure 
was especially strong among the rural members. For- 
tunately, one of the Reservation Commissioners, J. Hampden 
Robb, a leading member of the Niagara Falls Association, 
was also a member of the Senate, and a watchful observer of 
the situation, and it soon became evident to him that the 
passage of the Niagara Reservation act would require the 
active and earnest co-operation of all the friends of the un- 
dertaking. At Senator Robb's request the writer met him 
at Albany, and we went together to the Comptroller's office. 
Two years previously we had taken the draft of the pre- 
liminarv bill to Governor Cleveland, to ascertain if he would 
name the commissioners or if thev should be named in the 


bill. He said that while he did not ask to be allowed to name 
them, that he would do so it desired, adding significantly 
that if the Reservation were to be established, the sooner it 
were dene the better, as it could he dune much more reason- 
ably at that time than in 10 or 15 years in the future. 

On this occasion Comptroller Ghapin being' absent, we 
were received by the Deputy Comptroller, Thomas E. 
Benedict, who said he was sorry to see "two such good fel- 
lows'' there upon such a mission. In the Legislature of 
1883, Mr. Benedict, then a Member of Assembly from Ulster, 
had been the most outspoken opponent of the Reservation 
bill, upon grounds of public policy and economy. He greatly 
magnified the actual cost of the undertaking, and ridiculed 
the idea of people bowing down to worship a waterfall. Ten 
years afterward, when he was Public Printer at Washington, 
under President Cleveland's Administration, he saw Niagara 
for the first time, and he expressed the opinion that it never 
should have been private property. 

Mr. Benedict stated to us that in his opinion the proposal 
to withdraw one and a half million of dollars from the 
State Treasury, for such a purpose, would never be sanc- 
tioned. He added that the Deputy Attorney General, who 
had apartments in the same house as Mr. Benedict, had men- 
tioned to him a way in which it might be accomplished and 
lie advised us to go and confer with him. This suggestion 
from an honest opponent, proved to be the guidance to the 
road to success. 

The Deputy Attorney General of the State at that time 
was Isaac H. Maynard, afterward Judge of the Court of 
Appeals. He outlined to us the plan which he had men- 
tioned to Mr. Benedict, which was, for the State to issue 
bonds for $1,000,000. payable in 10 annual installments, and 
to pay the remainder of the awards out of the funds in the 
Treasury. He stated that the Constitution of the State per- 
mitted the issue of bonds for Si, 000, 000, for a public purpose, 
and he gave it as his opinion that the case in point came 
within the purview of the Constitution. At our request he 
drafted a bill in accordance with the plan outlined by him, 
and after some amendments had been made to it, it was sub- 


stituted for the bill first prepared. This bill, Assembly Bill 
No. 490, was afterwards introduced by Hon. Walter S. 
Hubbell of Monroe, and was referred to the Committee on 
Ways and Means. 

The meeting with Senator Robb resulted in the com- 
mencement of an agitation for the passage of the bill. Tt 
was arranged that the Xiagara Falls Association should send 
its corresponding secretary, Mr. J. B. Harrison, throughout 
the State, to bespeak the cooperation of the editors of news- 
papers and magazines, writers, college professors, clergy- 
men, and professional and business men generally ; the idea 
being, as Mr. Harrison expressed it, to make as many people 
think Xiagara. and talk Xiagara, as was possible. It was 
also decided that a citizens' committee should be organized 
at Xiagara Falls to cooperate with the Xiagara Falls Asso- 
ciation. The work done at Xiagara Falls was so effective 
that a record of it should be preserved. 

A meeting of a number of prominent citizens of the vil- 
lage of Xiagara Falls was held to hear the report of the con- 
ference with Senator Robb at Albany, and to consider meas- 
ures to be taken to aid in passing the Reservation bill. Va- 
rious propositions were discussed, and finally a plan sug- 
gested by the writer was adopted. This, in brief, was, that 
he should write to each Member of Assembly for the years 
18S2. 1883 and 1884 with whom he had been associated in 
Albany and ask each one to send him the names and post- 
office address of 20 or more of the most influential citizens of 
his Assembly district, and that each of such prominent citi- 
zens should be requested to write to his representatives in the 
Senate and Assembly, asking them to favor the passage of 
the Reservation bill. 

Among the active members of the committee were 
Messrs. Delano, Gaskill, Spaulding, A. H. Gluck, Kinsley, 
Cutler, Low, Flagler and Schoellkopf.* 

* At the opening exercises, July 15, 1885, the Citizens' Committee also in- 
cluded Messrs. S. M. X. Whitney, S. (".ever. E. M. Clark, II. S. Ware, A. W. K .. 
Ilennin^, Hon. S. S. Pomroy. Hon. \\ . I'. Home. Hon. Wm. Pool, Hon. P. A. Por- 
ter. H. Xiel-on. M. Harrington, G. M. Colburn, C. O'Loughlin, Penj. Rhodes and 
J. P.inkley. 


For convenience the Spencer House was made the head- 
quarters of the committee. Mr. Alvah Cluck, the proprietor, 
generously placed a room on the first floor at their disposal. 
Mr. A. H. Gluck was earnest and active in his cooperation, 
doing everything in his power promptly and cheerfully, and 
his enthusiasm and the many facilities afforded by the hotel 
aided largely in carrying on the work. Mr. Frank Davidson, 
clerk in the office of the International Hotel during the sum- 
mer of 1884, was employed as clerk. This selection was 
most fortunate. The work entrusted to Mr. Davidson, was 
performed with intelligence, rapidity and thoroughness, the 
evidences of which are existing. After the work was com- 
pleted, documents compiled by Mr. Davidson were used with 
advantage by the Forestry Association of the State. As the 
work proceeded Mr. David L. Lanigan was also employed 
and rendered efficient service. Numerous employes of 
the Spencer FTouse and others were drafted into service, 
from time to time, as emergency required. The zeal of Mr. 
A. H. Gluck was such that it seemed as if the entire staff of 
the Spencer House were liable to enrollment at any time to 
aid in the prosecution of the work. The following letter was 
sent to each IN [ember of Assembly for the vears 1882, 1S83 
and 1884: 

Niagara Falls, Jan. 26, 1885. 

Dear Sir : — Our former pleasant association together in the 
Assembly induces me to write to you about the bill to be introduced 
at this session "'For the Preservation of the Scenery of the Falls of 
Niagara," and to open the grounds around them to the public, free 
of charge, for all time to come. 

The siate of affairs existing here at present is a disgrace to the 
American people and especially to the State of New York, which 
holds the great cataract within its boundaries. May I ask you to aid 
in the work of preserving and restoring the Falls of Niagara to the 
people, by sending to me. en the enclosed blank, by return mail, the 
names and addresses of twenty or more of the most influential citi- 
zens of your district? I will be very glad to get a line from you. 
Your kind attention will oblige, 

Very sincerely yours, 



With each letter there were enclosed a blank form for 
names and addresses, and a stamped and addressed envelope 
for the reply. The letters received in reply are now bound 
and make a good-sized volume. They form a consensus of 
opinion from all the counties of the State upon the Niagara 
movement of that year. Some of them treat quite at length 
upon questions of public economy, taxation and state policy. 
Some of the legislators and ex-legislators thought the 
Nation, and not the State, should take measures to preserve 
the scenery of Niagara. Others feared it would lead to a 
public scandal similar to that incurred in the construction of 
the new Capitol. Still others regarded it as the entering 
wedge to the gigantic Adirondack Park scheme, which they 
condemned. This feeling of opposition manifested itself in 
sections so near to Niagara as to occasion surprise. John 
H. Rochester, Secretary of the Mechanics' Savings Bank of 
Rochester, wrote : 

Our Member of Assembly writes me as follows: ''You can have 
no idea of the amount of pressure which is being brought to bear on 
me in opposition to this bill. Some of Rochester's most prominent 
citizens have been here to advise me to oppose it, and I am daily in 
receipt of letters asking me to take that course, and threatening me 
with political oblivion should I vote for the bill. I have also been 
asked to introduce a bill, to submit the proposition to a vote of the 
people, at the next general election. . . ' . As I am not cowardly 
enough to dodge the question I will endeavor to do that which will 
be pleasing to my friends and vote for it." 

Francis Hendricks of Syracuse, afterwards Collector of 
the Port of New York, said it would have to wait, with other 
similar schemes, until the then existing financial depression 
should be dispelled. C. E. Smith of Yates, and others, said 
they had received remonstrances and would vote against the 
bill. John E. Cady of Tompkins said that, excepting some 
professors in Cornell University, 20 persons could not 
be found in his county who favored the bill. E. A. Nash of 
Cattaraugus replied in a fashion somewhat Milesian: 
"Somewhere in that locality is a gentleman by the name of 
C. B. Gaskill. Does he look with any degree oi favor upon 
the project?" Osborne of Albany replied that he had re- 


ceived a letter from Benson J. Lossing, the historian, who- 
resided in his county, urging him to favor the passage of the 
bill. William F. Sheehan stated that he would do all in his 
power to bring about the passage of the bill ; and most im- 
portant of all General James \Y. Husted, the leader of the 
majority in the Assembly, wrote: "I am as earnestly in 
favor of the Niagara Park as yourself, and I will do all that 
lies in my power to secure the passage of the bill." Senator 
Titus wrote: "I have always favored the project and will 
vote for it when it comes up," which he did and advocated 
and defended it on all occasions in the Senate. Many of the 
rank and file responded in terms of personal good will, but 
added that before committing themselves upon the measure 
they desired to ascertain the wishes of their constituents, and 
that they would he governed by them. 

To reach their constituents was the next step in order, 
for which purpose the names of prominent persons in the 
several counties of the State had been requested. Xearly 
every person addressed, whether friendly or unfriendly to- 
ward the bill, complied with the request for a list of names. 
The lists received are bound in a volume, and after deduct- 
ing duplicate names sent in some instances, it contains the 
names and postoffice addresses of over 4,000 citizens, prom- 
inent in the several counties oi the State in the year 1885. 
In many instances a list is headed by a name so prominent 
as to at once make known the "local habitation" of its asso- 
• dates. following it. For example, Grover Cleveland, Horatio 

Seymour, R. E. Fenton, Samuel J. Tilden, Lucius Robinson, 
Seth Low, Geo. B. Sloan, James- J. Belden, D. W. Powers, 
Pascal P. Pratt, G. T. Williams, Geo. William Curtis, Eras- 
tus Corning and E. L. Pitts. 

For many reasons it was thought best to seek the co- 
operation of these thousands of prominent citizens of the 
State, through the Niagara Falls Association. A letter was 
prepared by the writer and forwarded to Xew York for the 
signature of the president and secretary of the association, 
and 5,000 copies of it were lithographed on the letterhead of 
the association at the office of the Evening Post newspaper 
in Xew York Citv. The letterhead contains the names of 


the officers and executive committee of the association, which 
included man}' prominent citizens of the City of Xew York. 
The following is a copy of the circular letter : 

New York, Feb. 20, 1885. 

Dear Sir: — The question of preserving the scenery of the Falls 
of Niagara from destruction, and of opening the grounds around 
them to the public, free of charge, for all time to come, has been in 
agitation since Governor Robinson, in 1879, called the attention of 
the Legislature to the advisability of appropriate action. 

All the preliminary legal steps have been carefully taken by the 
State and a bill is now pending in the Legislature to accomplish the 
final result. 

The state of affairs at present existing at Niagara Falls is a re- 
proach to the American people, and especially to the State of New 
York, which holds the great cataract within its boundaries. The 
preservation and free enjoyment of its beauty and grandeur appeal 
to the best impulses of our natures, and to the intelligent patriotism 
and culture of the people of our State. 

We take the liberty of earnestly asking you to aid in the work 
of saving Niagara, by at once writing a letter to your representative 
in the Assembly, urgently requesting him to vote in favor of the 
measure. We enclose a blank for that purpose, and ask you, also, to 
kindly advise us by return mail, if you will cooperate with us as re- 
quested. Very respectfully yours, 

HOWARD POTTER. President. 

A copy of this letter was mailed to each person whose 
name and address had been obtained. Enclosed with it, as 
stated in the letter, were a blank envelope, stamped, and con- 
taining- a sheet of paper for" use in writing" to the representa- 
tive in the Legislature : also a printed form, enclosed in a 
stamped envelope addressed to the corresponding secretary 
of the association for use in replying to the association as re- 
quested. In this manner every precaution was taken in order 
that any well-disposed person, on receipt of the letter, might 
have at hand the materials for complying with the request of 
the association without any expense or delay. 

The replies received by the secretary of the association 
are hound in four volumes, each reply giving the names of 


the Senator or Assemblyman who had been requested to 
vote for the Reservation bill. Sometimes copies of the let- 
ters sent to Senators and Assemblymen are appended, and 
also copies of the replies received from the legislators. More 
frequently a foot-line gives the substance of a reply from 
Albany, or the result of an interview with a representative, 
or contains a promise to call upon the member on his return 

The foot-lines and letters are highly interesting reading, 
and contain opinions, good and bad, freely expressed, .con- 
cerning representatives in the Legislature, some saying that 
they have absolute confidence in their members to act wisely 
upon the proposed measure ; and others denouncing their 
representatives as corrupt, venal and untrustworthy. Rev. 
Howard Crosby's sarcasm is hardly creditable to him, when 
he says: "I have been ill, but I would now send the letter, 
if I knew who was Senator from my district." His Senator 
was Hon. James Daly, one of the foremost advocates of the 
Reservation bill. Some of the letters contain flat denials to 
comply with the request. John I. Piatt of the Poughkccpsic 
Eagle wrote : "We regard this Niagara Falls scheme as one 
of the most unnecessary and unjustifiable raids upon the 
State Treasury ever attempted, consequently we shall not 
write any letters in its favor, but shall oppose it in any way 
that seems effective." The clerk into whose hands this letter 
fell marked it "x. c", which mark it still bears. A few years 
ago Mr. Piatt visited the State Reservation. He was deeply 
interested in its management, and seemed to have lost all of 
the bitterness manifested at the time of the passage of the 

Some denounced the bill as a "job" and a "steal," and 
berated Niagara Falls and its citizens, particularly the hack- 
men, hotelmen and bazaar-keepers, as sharks and swindlers, 
who had robbed the people individually and were now seek- 
ing to rob them collectively. They said they would oppose 
the bill by every means in their power; hoped it would be 
defeated; and then the}' returned the form for a reply with- 
out having the courage to sign their names to what they had 
written. These bursts of temper were mildly suggestive of 


strangers who had visited Niagara and had suffered at the 
hands of her showmen in the golden days of Niagara cab- 
men, now forever flown. 

J. P. Austin of L nionville wrote that opponents were cir- 
culating a remonstrance in that village and asserting that the 
tax upon that town for the Reservation would be $20,000. 
He wished to refute this statement. Many were outspoken 
in favor of the bill. Benj. Doolittle of Oswego wrote: "I 
am heartily and earnestly in favor of the passage of this bill, 
even if the State has to pay largely for it. It is one oppor- 
tunity of a life-time. Am willing to pay my portion of the 
tax. Go ahead!" H. H. Frost said: "The East Norwich 
Enterprise [of which he is editor] has its columns open in 
behalf of the bill." "G. Hitchcock, Pres., for the Board of 
Trustees of Homer Milage," Cortland County, is signed to 
one of the replies. Seth Low, then Mayor of Brooklyn, 
asked for a copy of the bill and information concerning its 
situation in the Legislature. A. Went worth of Randolph, 
Chautauqua County, wrote that he had written to his mem- 
ber, adding: "I received the request from Hon. B. Flagler 
of Suspension Bridge." Thomas Evershed of Rochester 
asked : "Would a good copy of the map of the Reservation 
be of assistance?" S. M. Smith of Dunkirk, whose hand- 
writing appears to be that of an old man, wrote that he also 
induced George Isham, Byron Rathburn and George E. 
Blackburn to write to Senator Yedder. Robert Jones of 
Syracuse, Stephen D. Perkins of Little York, S. V. Terrell 
of Brooklyn and others wrote, stating the number of per- 
sons they had induced to cooperate. Pascal P. Pratt of Buf- 
falo wrote: "My services are at the command of the Niag- 
ara Falls Association, and I am willing to do all I can to pro- 
mote the object sought." Thompson Kingston! of Oswego 
wrote : "T have this day mailed a letter to our representative 
in the Legislature, Hon. Henry C. Howe, requesting him to 
support the bill 'To preserve the scenery of the Falls of 
Niagara.' " 

One of the most enthusiastic and effective laborers for 
the bill was Prof. E. Chadwick, who wrote from Canan- 
daisrua that he had written to Senators Raines and Robinson 


and Assemblyman Clark E. Smith of Ontario and Yates 
counties, requesting them "'to use voice and vote to preserve 
the scenery oi the Falls of Xiagara by proper legislation and 
make its beauties free to all. like the sun in heaven." To 
make his letter as effective as possible he had it endorsed in 
Canandaigua by county officers, ex-county officers, ex-sena- 
tors, ex-assemblymen, attorneys and bankers. 20 of whose 
names are given, and then he added, "and others" ! YV. A. 
Wadsworth wrote from Washington: "Considering what 
the State has paid for the Capitol at Albany, the price asked 
for the Falls of Xiagara seems reasonable enough." A. 
Winters of Cannonville, speaking of his visits to Xiagara, 
said he was "always pleased with the scenery, but did not 
like the robbery/' S. M. Shaw of Cooperstown, referring to 
our one-time townsman, Hon. W. Caryl Ely. then repre- 
senting Otsego County in the Assembly, said: "There is 
no use in writing to our Member of Assembly on the ques- 
tion of appropriations. He is a man of positive views and 
convictions, and I do not feel at liberty to ask any favor in 
the direction you request." S. M. Thurber of East Worces- 
ter, Otsego County, wrote that he had written to his repre- 
sentative in the Assembly. W. Caryl Ely. a-king him to vote 
for the bill. In a foot-note marked ''Personal' 3 — which in- 
junction may now be fairly taken to be outlawed — he a Ids 
"If you have any doubt about this vote write me at once." 
It also appears that G. Pomeroy Keese and Theo. C. Turner 
of Cooperstown. John McCarthy of Middlefield, E. L. Gustin 
of East Worcester. S. M. Ingalls of Springfield. T. K. 
Leaning. M. D.. of Fly Creek. George Merritt. M. D.. of 
Cherry Valley. G. Hyde Clarke of Hyde Hall and others 
wrote to Mr. Ely in like manner. Mr. Ely v h I for the 
bill. Edward Wait of Lansingburgh stated that he had 
written to his member, asking him to vote for the bill "and 
also, if possible, to have a clause in the bill providing for the 
occasional hanging of a hackman of that locality." 

Very Rev. P. V. Kavanagh, president of Xiagara Uni- 
versity, sent copies of the circular letter to the alumni of the 
college resi ling in the State. Among the names of clergy- 
men scattered through the four volumes :" replies, appear 


the signatures of Bishop Ryan, Fathers Bloomer, McNabb, 
Darcy, Maloy, McShane, Biden, O'Connor, Sullivan, Daly, 
Grattan and the venerable Father Sylvester Malone of 
Brooklyn, regent of the University of the State of 'New 
York. Xear home, appear the familiar and welcome signa- 
tures of Rev. Foster Fly of Lockport and Rev. John S. 
Bacon of Corning. About the middle of volume four is the 
trembling signature of the venerable Gouverneur Morris, 
and a little farther on in the same volume, although the 
leaves are put together at haphazard, bunched together, are 
the signatures of Albert Bierstadt, Charles A. Dana, Wra. H. 
Seward, Reuben E. Fenton, Francis Kernan and Benson J. 
Lossing, the historian. 

Whatever of added interest or value among the replies 
received, a thorough acquaintance in the State might reveal ; 
in turning over the leaves, even an ordinary glance lights 
with pleasure on such signatures as Win. A. Wheeler, Eras- 
tus Corning, Rufus W. Peckham, Theodore Vorhees, Edgar 
Van Etten, Thomas L. James, Thomas K. Beecher, Wrn. 
Allen Butler, Ripley Ropes, Alfred C. Coxe, Pascal P. Pratt, 
John B. Stanchfield, Randolph B. Martine and many more 
of equal prominence and distinction. Clergymen, educators, 
editors and attorneys are well represented, as might reason- 
ably be expected, Medical men are prominent, as seen by 
the frequent occurrence of the affix "M. D." after names. 
Large employers of labor, like Thompson Kingsford of the 
Oswego starch factory, are numerous; men whose voices 
are powerful in the halls of legislation — precisely the influ- 
ence needed to secure the passage of the Niagara Reserva- 
tion bill. 

The- -month of January, 1885, was spent in dispatching 
letters to Members and ex-Members of Assembly, requesting 
the lists of names. The replies received were carefully 
noted in order to take advantage of any information or sug- 
gestion they might contain. The names received were ar- 
ranged alphabetically, so as to avoid duplication. Frequent 
correspondence was had with the secretary of the Niagara 
Falls Association, the commissioners of the State Reserva- 
tion, and their attorneys, Allen, Movius & Wilcox of Buffalo. 


The attorneys were at that time endeavoring to draft the 
Reservation bill so as to meet the views of the commissioners 
and certain of the State officers. Under date of Jan. 21, 
1885, Ansley Wilcox wrote: 

Buffalo, N. Y., Jan. 21, 1885. 
Hon. Thomas V. .Welch, 

Niagara Falls, N. Y., 

Dear Sir: — I send you today, as I promised, our draft of the 
bill to be presented to the Legislature by the Commissioners of the 
State Reservation at Niagara. As I wrote you on Monday, the form 
of this bill has not been approved by the Commissioners, and we 
shall urge them very strongly to change it materially, although it is 
now drafted in accordance with their suggestions. We think that the 
two parts of the bili, the one appropriating money for the payment 
of the awards, so as to clinch the legal proceedings, and the other, 
providing for the powers and duties of the Commissioners in the 
future, should be separated, so that the appropriation bill may be 
presented to the Legislature unincumbered by any such details, and 
afterwards the other bill may be introduced separately. We have 
very little doubt but that the Commissioners will accept this view. 

Then as to the appropriation bill itself, we do not think the form 
in which it is embodied in the first three sections of the bill, enclosed 
"herewith, will be adopted. We think, and this view we have formed 
after consultation with Deputy Comptroller Benedict, that all that is 
necessary for us to do in our bill, is to provide for the appropriation 
of the money to pay the awards, and give explicit directions as to 
their payment. The matter of raising the money by a tax need not be 
provided for in this bill, and the Deputy Comptroller seemed to think 
that it was better for us not to undertake to provide for it. We have 
not been able to see Mr. Chapin, the Comptroller, himself, on this 

I was in Albany yesterday, and had a chance to consult Mr. 
Robb, and other persons, in regard to the prospects of the appropria- 
tion. All seemed to think that the occasion is favorable, and the 
prospects are very good : but it will require vigorous work to get it 
through in time, if any opposition is developed. Yours truly, 


Early in February a conference was desired concerning 
the provisions of the bill, which had not yet been introduced. 
At this time printed statements were sent to each member of 
the Legislature, probablv bv the State Granges, denouncing 


the Reservation bill, and giving, in greatly exaggerated fig- 
ures, the estimated tax on each of the rural counties. To 
counteract this an official statement was obtained from the 
Comptroller's office, giving the assessed valuation of the 
property in the State, and the tax rate that would produce a 
million and a half of dollars. This statement was widely 
published through the State.* The first lot of the circular 
letters, about 1,000 in number, were mailed by messenger in 
Buffalo. The postoffice officials in Buffalo did not under- 
stand why Xiagara Falls matter should be mailed in Buffalo 
and questioned the messenger closely. Thereafter the mail 
matter was sent by express to Xew York City and mailed at 
that point. 

Charles S. Fairchild. chairman of the executive commit- 
tee of the Xiagara Falls Association, informed the writer 
that he would be obliged to turn the work over to other 
hands in order to accept the office of Assistant Secretary of 
the Treasury of the United States, which had been offered 
to him through Mr. Daniel Manning. He requested a con- 
ference on the further prosecution of the work. When the 
first lot of circular letters was mailed the writer immediately 
took the train for New York in order to be upon the ground 
to note the result of the work that had been done. The 
headquarters of the association were at the office of Robb & 
Peet, 17 William Street. Mr. Robb was in Albany attending 
to his duties as a Senator, and the office was in charge of his 
clerk, Charles F. O'Keefe, who devoted nearly all his time 
to the work of the association. For four months he received 
the mail of the association, forwarded a large part of it to 
Xiagara Falls, obtained and forwarded stationery and 
printed matter, sought out influential people and delivered 
letters to them, and by his prompt and courteous attention to 
every detail, in many ways assisted in carrying on the work. 

Mr. Fairchild was succeeded as chairman of the execu- 
tive committee by Francis H. Weeks of the law firm of 
DeForest & Weeks, 120 Broadway, who conducted the work 
with great ability, heartily responding to every suggestion 

* The assessed valuation in the State was $3,01 4,591 ,37-\ on which a '_> mill 
tax would produce $1,507,295.69. 


received from Niagara Falls, and giving his time largely to 
the work of the association.* 

On arrival at the office of the association it was found 
that a number of responses from near-by counties had already 
been received. Ln a day or two the responses poured in with 
increasing rapidity, and although only a small portion of the 
circular letters had been mailed it soon became evident that 
already hundreds of letters had been forwarded to Albany 
from various counties in the State, requesting Senators and 
Members of Assembly to vote for the Reservation bill. In 
many cases the association also received letters from the 
persons addressed, expressing their sympathy with the 
movement and asking if there was anything more which they 
might do to further it. It having been demonstrated that a 
large percentage of the people addressed were responding 
favorably, the responses received were taken to Niagara 
Falls, and the work at that point urged en with renewed 
energy. „ 

Feb. 18th, Senator Robb introduced the bill in the Senate. 
It was referred to the Finance Committee, and a hearing 
promised the week following. On the same day Senator 
Robb appeared before the Ways and Means Committee of 
the Assembly and procured a postponement of the final 
hearing on the bill to delay action introduced for Rowland 
F. Hill, one of the property owners, until such a time as a 
joint hearing could be arranged, which was to be attended by 
Sherman S. Rogers, Anslev Wilcox and others. ( )n Feb. 
10th, Flon. Walter Howe, from first to last an ardent friend 
of the measure, wired: "Hearing on Robb's Niagara bill 
next Thursday afternoon." The Niagara Falls Association 
gave substantial aid in carrving on the work at Niagara 

On Feb. 25th, Senator Robb wired : "Hubbell intro- 
duced bill in the Assembly this morning, and hearing to- 
morrow afternoon is joint hearing both committees — and is 
on commissioners' bill only. Advise your being present." 

* A year or two later Mr. Weeks pave valuable aid and counsel to those en- 
Raged in the work of obtaining capital fur the construction of the hydraulic 
tunnel, the storv of which has never been told. 


Francis H. Weeks and Ansley Wilcox wrote to the same ef- 
fect at greater length, saying that the commissioners and 
Mr. Fairchild were to be present and would remain in Al- 
bany for a day or two for consultation as to future measures 
to be taken for the advancement of the bill. 

On the evening of Feb. 25th the writer took the train for 
Albany. In the smoking-room of the sleeping-car, which 
was found unoccupied, notes were made on a postal-card 
received from Mr. Delano for an address before the joint 
committee of the Senate and Assembly on the morrow, 
giving the history of the movement from its inception, 
quoting prominent men of both political parties who had put 
themselves on record in favor of it. among them the chair- 
man of the State Committee, of each of the great parties, 
ex-Speakers Alvord, Littlejohn, Sharpe, Patterson and 
Sheard, Erastus Brooks, Poucher of Oswego, Thompson of 
Jefferson, Clinton of Erie, and Boynton of Essex, the chair- 
man of the previous Republican State convention. The state 
of affairs existing' at Niagara was given from a resident's 
point of view, and an effort was made to remove the idea 
that Governor Hill would veto the bill if it were passed, by 
pleading that Governor Cleveland, who made way for him, 
favored the bill, as also did Governor Robinson, his towns- 
man, who originated it, and that Governor Hill would not 
be unmindful of these considerations. 

The hearing before the joint committee, held in the 
Senate Chamber, Thursday afternoon, Feb. 26, 1885, drew 
a large audience, many women showing their interest in the 
bill by their presence. Senator Ellsworth and Assemblyman 
Home were present. Addresses were made by Sherman S. 
Rogers, Senator Robb, the venerable Martin B. Anderson, 
president of Rochester University ; members of the Niagara 
Falls Association and others. The opposition to the bill was 
stated in an able manner by Rowdand F. Hill. Many ques- 
tions were asked by the members of the committee, to ascer- 
tain if the lands selected were sufficient, or if the State would 
be called upon again to purchase more; if large annual ap- 
propriations would be required ; if expensive artificial struc- 
tures were contemplated ; if it were probable that the 


Dominion Government would follow the example of the 
State of New York; with many other inquiries and objec- 
tions. At the elose of the hearing the impression prevailed 
that the majority of the eommittee were in favor of the bill. 

A meeting was held at the Spencer House, Niagara 
Falls, Feb. 27th, and a report made concerning the hearing 
at Albany. The work of sending out the circular letters was 
still going on. On March 9th Mr. O'Keefe wired: "Re- 
ceived 915 responses. They still continue coming in." Mr. 
O'Keefe was requested to forward all responses received So 
Niagara Falls immediately. 

Two weeks elapsed and the bill was not reported either 
in the Senate or Assembly. On March 9th, Senator Robb 
wired : "Advise your coming at once to Albany/' and on 
March 10th : '"Lansing promises to report bill for consid- 
eration." On the evening of March nth the writer started 
for Albany, and met Ansley Wilcox by appointment at the 
Central station in Buffalo for consultation. On arrival at 
Albany it was found that the majority feared that if the bill 
was passed, Governor Hill would veto it in order to make 
political capital for himself. Until some assurance to the 
contrary could be obtained they refused to report it from 
the committee. No intimation of the Governor's action could 
be obtained in advance, and in the meantime the bill was 
quietly "pigeon-holed." It was decided to make a special 
effort to have the bill reported by the Ways and Means Com- 
mittee of the Assembly of which General James XV. Husted 
was chairman. With this object in view, the writer went on 
to New York, armed with letters to many prominent people 
known to have great influence with the chairman of the 
Ways and Means Committee. A conference was had with 
Francis FI. Weeks at his office, 120 Broadway. It was de- 
cided to seek personal interviews with Cornelius Yanderbilt, 
Chauncey M. Depew, Richard McCurdy, John McCook, 
C. A. Peabody, Jr., Rev. Edward McGlynn, and with Hugh 
McLaughlin, J. S. T. Stranahan of Brooklyn, and others. 
Mr. McLaughlin was found by the writer at his headquar- 
ters in an auction-room in Brooklyn. Fie read Senator 
Robb's letter, and then said : "Oh, yes ; I know von. Our 


boys have told me about you. All that's the matter with 
you is that you are too damned straight, but if you lived here- 
in Brooklyn you would feel and act just as we do." 

This had reference to many failures on the part of the 
writer to act with the Brooklyn delegation in legislative 
matters. Mr. McLaughlin inquired minutely concerning the 
condition of the bill, and the attitude of the Brooklyn mem- 
bers. He said that he was heartily in favor of the measure 
and would do all in his power to secure its passage. He 
then wrote a letter to the leader of the Brooklyn delegation, 
expressing his views, and requesting him and his colleagues 
to vote for the bill. This letter was subsequently delivered 
and produced the desired effect. 

The sympathy and interest in the preservation of the 
scenery of Niagara displayed by "Boss" McLaughlin was 
in marked contrast with the coldness of ex-Governor Cor- 
nell. Meeting him upon the train between Albany and New 
York, he said to the writer : "Are you down here about that 
Niagara Park bill?" On being answered in the affirmative, 
he said: "It is well for you that I am not the one to deal 
with it." When asked, "Governor, you surely do not think 
it right that the Falls of Niagara should be fenced in, as they 
are at present, and the public charged to look at them?" he 
answered, "Of course I do. They are a luxury and why 
should not the public pay to see them ?" 

Governor Cornell's opposition to the measure was also 
in marked contrast with the deep interest manifested by an- 
other man whose name has since become widely known — 
Rev. Edward McGLnn, D. D. When his aid was asked in a 
letter from Rev. James A. Lanigan of Niagara Falls, he at 
once wrote to Senators Murphy. Cullen and Daly, saying: 

I have been asked by the Niagara Falls Association to help 
them in their laudable effort to preserve the scenery, etc., of our 
famous Niagara, and as there is a lull to come before the honorable 
body of which you arc a member, I write you specially to ask your 
vote in its favor and your 'influence among your associate members 
to the same end; as 1 am in full sympathy with this movement and 
think no petty parsimony, or sectional or selfish antagonism should 
stand in the way of a bill meant to preserve one of the glories of our 
State and country. Very sincerely yours. 



Mr. Stranahan was also interviewed and his cooperation 

A call was made at the Grand Central station and a tele- 
gram was sent by Mr. Depew to Mr. Hustecl, asking that 
the bill be reported. Mr. McCook was found at the 
Equitable building, and a like telegram forwarded. Mr. 
McCurdy was seen at the Mutual Life building, and he 
cheerfully communicated with Chairman Hustecl. Several 
days were devoted to work of this kind. On March 20th an 
interview was had with Mr. Peabody. He immediately 
forwarded a telegram to Albany and requested another call 
at his office on the way up-town in the evening. On calling 
as requested he produced a telegram from Chairman Husted, 
saying: "Niagara bill special order Tuesday morning." 
The bill had been reported favorably in the Assembly after 
two weeks of labor to accomplish it. 

On March 18th, A. Augustus Porter wrote favoring the 
proposed change in the bill, providing for the issue of bonds, 
and urging that the land-owners be given the option to take 
bonds in payment, saving : "This course would, I think, be 
most decidedly agreeable to those who now have land in- 
vestments which the State proposes to throw into money for 
reinvestment." Although provision was finally made for an 
issue of bonds, which were taken by the State as an invest- 
ment for the State funds, at this time the counsel for the 
commissioners was strongly opposed to such an amendment. 
The objections to it were thus stated by Mr. Wilcox: 

Hon. T. V. Welch. 

My dear sir:— Your favor of the 13th inst. received. The news 
is mixed, good and bad. I hope no amendment providing for is- 
suing b&nds will be tacked on unless absolutely necessary — to pre- 
vent failure of the bill. This subject has been fully discussed by Mr. 
Rogers, Mr. Dorsheimer and myself and we all agree that such a 
provision would be very dangerous. If anyone raised the point I 
think it would certainly be held to be unconstitutional. 

To be sure, the point might never be raised — and if it were 
raised the courts would strain everything to help us through; so it 
might turn out differently from my expectations. 

Again, if the first two sections are left just as they are, making 
an absolute appropriation and giving absolute directions for payment, 


then the addition of an unconstitutional section providing for the 
issue of Si.coo.oco bonds would not invalidate the two preceding sec- 
tiuns. They would stand independently and would operate on the 
money which is actually in the treasury. So in this view the addition 
would not be fatal to the project. 

But why does anyone who has brains to comprehend the situa- 
tion want such an addition? Why should the State borrow 
$1,000,000. when it has $J.500.coo surplus on hand, and nothing to do 
with it? I can't see. If you have a cash balance of $2,500 lying idle 
in one bank, would you go to another and borrow money to pay your 
butcher's bills ? 

I expect to go to Albany Tuesday eve, or Wednesday eve at 
latest, and shall be there two or three days. 
Yours very truly, 


P. S. — If it appears to be necessary to consent to any such ad- 
dition to the bill I should advise that nothing be said about its being 
separable, as above suggested, from the other provisions of the bill, 
but that you simply insist on those provisions being retained in 
precisely their present form. A. W. 

All of the large land-owners had appealed from the de- 
cision of the appraisers. They were especially strenuous 
concerning their claims for damages as riparian owners, 
claiming to own the ill u in aquae, or thread of the stream, and 
consequently the water power of the river. This claim the 
appraisers excluded, and the appeals followed. About the 
middle of March efforts were made to obtain stipulations for 
the withdrawal of the appeals which were endangering the 
passage of the bill. Those refusing to stipulate to withdraw 
their appeals in case the bill passed gradually were reduced 
down to Mrs. Burred, Mr. Hill and the Prospect Park Com- 

Nearly 5,000 circular letters had been mailed and about 
1,500 responses had been received. That meant that 1,500 
letters from all sections of the State had poured in upon the 
Legislature, asking the members to vote for the bill. Many 
who had decided to vote against it, when they found each 
morning on their desks letters from prominent citizens of 
their districts asking them to support it, changed their 



This change of feeling- was gradually becoming apparent 
at Albany. But the opposition to the bill had also been 
developing - and remonstrances were numerous, particularly 
from the farming counties. To counteract their effect, this 
petition was sent, first to those who had shown the most 
marked interest in the bill, and afterwards to all who had 
sent favorable replies to the circular letter : 


To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of New 
York. — We, the undersigned, citizens of the State of New York, be- 
lieve it the duty of the State to do what it can to preserve the beauty 
of the Falls of Niagara, and to make the enjoyment of the same free 
to all persons. We are satisfied that, to fulfill this duty, the State 
must acquire the property selected by the Niagara Falls Commission, 
and that this can be done at less cost now than at any future time; 
while we fear, if the opportunity be now neglected, it will be lost for- 
ever, and that we shall see our State forever dishonored by abandon- 
ing the most beautiful and awe-inspiring work of nature upon our 
continent to ever-increasing disfigurement and desecration by a mo- 

Mindful of all this, and of the fact that there is not one foot of 
land in the State of New York from which the Falls of Niagara can 
be seen without the payment of a fee, we do most earnestly petition 
your honorable body to do that which you now may to cure this dis- 
grace and to redeem the name of the State of New York, by appro- 
priating the sum which the Commissioners of Arbitration, appointed 
under the law of 1S83, have determined should be paid for the prop- 
erty in question. 

With the petition were enclosed a stamped envelope for 
its transmission to Albany, and a printed slip which read as 
follows : 

Dear Sir: — As you have shown an earnest desire to have the 
Falls of Niagara restored to the public, and to save the scenery of 
Niagara from destruction we appeal to you to obtain the signatures 
of a few friends and send the petition as quickly as possible to your 
Representative in Legislature at Albany. It is of vital importance 
that this should be done at the earliest possible moment in order to 
attain the object in view. Do not hold petition more than two or 

P. O. Box 10^, New York City. 


When the names signed to the responses were exhausted 
attention was turned to special sources from which assist- 
ance might be expected. Petitions were sent to the Alumni 
of Niagara University throughout the State, because of their 
knowledge and interest in the Falls and their surroundings. 
The cooperation of the Alumni of Cornell was also sought 
in a circular letter from James Eraser Cluck. The result 
of this work was that a tiood of petitions poured in upon the 
Senate and Assembly from all sections of the State. Hon. 
John W. Vrooman, clerk of the Senate, stated that one 
morning it required two hours to read the headings of peti- 
tions in favor of the Niagara Reservation bill, and the re- 
monstrances received were outnumbered more than a hun- 
dred-fold. Hon. Chauncey M. Depew had written letters to 
many prominent men in the State, and Mr. J. B. Harrison, 
the corresponding secretary of the Niagara Falls Associa- 
tion, was now started upon a tour of the State to deliver Mr. 
Depew 's letters, and personally explain the situation of the 
bill in the Legislature. April 3d, he writes: "I have de- 
livered Mr. Depew's letters — some 25 — with others, going to 
Kingston, Saratoga, Amsterdam, llion, Utica. Svracuse, 
Auburn, Geneva, Canandaigua, Rochester, Batavia, Hor- 
nellsville, Elmira, Ithaca, etc. I found cordial cooperation 
everywhere. Public feeling is at its height and there is 
danger of delay as people everywhere are beginning the au- 
tumn political campaign." 

Persons who had advocated the Reservation bill in the 
Legislature of 1883 were requested to telegraph to the Sena- 
tors and Assemblymen asking them to vote for the bill. 
April 13th, Senator Robb telegraphed: "Will telegraph as 
many as possible." This was to ask the cooperation of ex- 
Members of the Legislature. A postal-card from Theodore 
Roosevelt said: "I will at once write or telegraph to every- 
one of those whom I know to ask their vote." 

On April 2d, Senator Robb wrote: "I have not yet been 
able to have the bill reported though they promise to do so 
tomorrow, and when I went this morning to Lansing to ask- 
why it was not let out he wished to know if the}' yet had 
Hubbell's bill. Altogether I am convinced that we are in 


for a fight to make them let it out." The following clay he 
telegraphed: "Bill reported amended, favorably; made 
special order for next Thursday." On Thursday he tele- 
graphed : "Best we could do was to progress and make an- 
other special order for Tuesday morning next." 

On the same day he wrote: **I have grave fears now 
that the measure will be lost, for it can readily be passed and 
yet go to the Governor in such shape as to prevent his sign- 
ing it, or if recalled to meet his requirements cannot be re- 
turned to him in time." This refers to a provision of the act 
of 1883 that unless the bill became a law on or before April 
30, 1885, all the proceedings would be void and of no effect. 
Meantime, by the efforts of Senator Titus, and Messrs. 
Husted, Home, Hubbell, Sheehan, Cantor, Driess, Raines, 
Haggerty, Howe, Roesch, Ely, Kruse and other warm 
friends of the measure, the bill had been ordered to a third 
reading in the Assembly. When it came up for passage 
there was a large attendance of the friends of the bill, in- 
cluding members of the Niagara Falls Association. General 
Husted led the forces for the bill. Mr. Burnham of Wayne 
was the leading spokesman for the opposition. Then the 
results of the work that had been done under the auspices of 
the Niagara Falls Association became apparent. Mr. Flen- 
dricks of Onondaga and other members stated in the course 
of the debate that originally they had intended to vote 
against the passage of the bill, but that they had received 
letters and petitions from so many leading citizens of their 
districts asking them to support it, that out of deference 
to the wishes of such a large number of their constituents 
they would vote for the bill. When the roll was called the 
vote stood: Ayes, jS: noes, 22. The majority for the bill 
was decisive, notwithstanding the fact that the Speaker and 
several others who were expected to vote for the bill voted 
against it. The only clergyman in the Assembly, Rev. Dr. 
Olin, voted against the bill, while notwithstanding the re- 
monstrances of the State Grange, the majority of the country 
members voted in favor of it. 

When the bill reached the Senate it was substituted for 
the Senate bill, then in general orders. The bill was amended 


in the Senate by Senator Ellsworth and others, and on April 
14th, after four hours' debate, it was ordered to a third 
reading - . It was reached April 16th and passed the Senate 
in its amended form by a vote of 26 ayes and 4 nays. The 
negative votes were given by Senators Comstock, Davidson, 
Low and Thomas. Senator Arkell was absent and Senator 
Esty was excused from voting". The bill having been, 
amended in the Senate had to be returned to the Assembly 
for concurrence in the amendments. It had been arranged 
by Senator Robb that General Husted should take charge of 
the bill on its deliver}' to the Assembly and secure such con- 
currence as soon as possible. There being nothing objec- 
tionable in the amendments when the roll was called upon 
them in the Assembly, they were concurred in. The bill was 
now in readiness to be sent to the Governor for his con- 

April 18. 1885. upon the invitation of Eton. O. W. Cutler 
(then editor of the Lock port Union). Governor Elill came 
to Niagara Falls for the purpose of making a personal ex- 
amination of the premises proposed to be taken for a State 
Reservation. During the day he was driven around Goat 
Island, through Prospect Park, and along the river up as 
far as Fort Day. Accompanying the Governor were his 
secretary, Col. Gillett, Hon. O. W. Cutler, Hon. Cyrus E. 
Davis, and the writer. At that time Bath Island"' was almost 
entirely covered by the paper mill and other buildings used 
in connection with it. Prospect Park was surrounded by a 
high picket fence, and contained a store, dwelling house, 
and other buildings that have since been removed. The 
shore of the river between Prospect Park and First Street 
was occupied by mills, bazaars and hotels, stables, ice houses, 
bath houses, pump houses, laundries, sheds and other struc- 
tures ; many unoccupied and in various stages of decay. 
The Governor made an examination of the territory and 
buildings, and was also driven to the Whirlpool Rapids. 
After returning from the drive, standing by a window in 

* Xow named (ireen Island, in honor of Andrew II. dreen, commissioner of 
the State Reservation since 1SS3, and for 15 consecutive years president of the 
Hoard of Commissioners. 


the Hotel Kaltenbach and looking out over "The Green," in 
front of the hotel — at tnat time known as '"The Wood Lot," 
and surrounded by a picket fence, with a frame store build- 
ing adjacent to the Cataract House, and a horse shed on the 
upper end adjoining the Porter homestead — referring to 
Bath Island, the Governor said to the writer, that he could 
not understand why the commissioners had included the 
island, with its costly paper manufacturing plant, in the ter- 
ritory to be taken for a Reservation by the State. As the 
paper mill on Bath Island, with its chimneys, shops, stables, 
sheds, straw stacks, fences, Humes and piers, was, of all the 
structures proposed to be taken, the greatest disfigurement 
of the scenery, because of its conspicuous location in the 
rapids just above the American Falls, and on the pathway 
of visitors to Goat Island, the Governor's observation gave 
rise to considerable alarm. Further than this somewhat 
unsatisfactory manifestation, the Governor gave no indica- 
tion of the impression made upon him by his visit to 

That evening, after the departure of the Governor, the 
writer telegraphed to Senator Robb, at Albany : "Went 
over ground with Governor. Xon-committal, but apparently 
favorable. May allow bill to become a law without signa- 
ture, but think he will sign it. if earnestly urged." 

The visit of the Governor left a feeling of uneasiness and 
uncertainty concerning the fate of the bill. On April 24th, 
Senator Robb wrote from Albany: ''Matters continue un- 
certain, though a dispatch from Mr. Green (at Xew York), 
who has seen the Governor there today, telling me to intro- 
duce the 'supplemental bill' is encouraging. Hubert Thomp- 
son writes me that Hili told him the National Government 
ought to carry out the project, and I have just had a tele- 
gram from Weeks, who has also seen the Governor todav, 
saying the latter doubts the constitutionality of the bill, as 
passed. There can be no harm now in putting on all the 
pressure we can, and the more letters we can get influential 
people to write the better." At this time it became known 
that for some reason the bill did not come into the hands of 
the Governor until four or five days after its passage — 


probably after the 20th of April. Ordinarily, during the 
session of the Legislature, 10 days are allowed the Governor 
for the consideration of a bill, and if he does not approve 
it or veto it within that time, it becomes a law without his 
signature. In this case, according to the act of 1883, unless 
the bill became a law on or before April 30, 1885, all of the 
proceedings would be null and void. The 10 days allowed 
the Governor for the consideration of the Reservation bill 
would not expire until after the 30th of April. This caused 
great alarm among the friends of the bill, for it' gave 
the Governor the opportunity, if he so desired, of evading 
the responsibility of signing or vetoing the bill. The meas- 
ure would thus fail to become a law without any action on 
his part. On April 25th, the writer sent this telegram to 
Senator Robb : "Owing to neglect in sending Park bill to 
Governor in time it must have his signature to become a 
law. Can you use your influence with him through S. J. T. ? 
Particulars by mail. Answer/' Senator Robb replied : 
"Have been trying to secure influence you mentioned. Be- 
lieve we have succeeded." It is hardly necessary to state 
that the influence referred to was that of the Sage of Gray- 
stone, Samuel J. Tilden, the political mentor of David B. 
Hill, who was Tilden's foremost pupil and disciple. ■ How 
that influence was obtained, the nature and the weight of it, 
will be told in the course of this narrative. 

Meantime friends of the measure, in and out of the Leg- 
islature, were requested to call on Governor Hill, or to write 
to him in behalf of the bill. Among others the Hon. James 
Haggerty, a leading Xew York member, wrote : "I called 
upon the Governor in relation to the Park bill, and urged 
him to sign it. While there a communication reached him 
from the Comptroller, pointing out certain defects in the 
bill. The Governor showed me the letter and impressed me 
with the idea that he did not attach much importance to 
them. My impression is that he will sign the bill. If he 
does not, then I will no longer have any confidence in my 
powers of perception." 

The friends of the measure in Xew York City had read- 
ily secured the cooperation of the New York newspapers. 


which were from day to day earnestly urging the approval 
of the bill. Henry \Y. Sackett, attorney for the Xeze York 
Tribune, whose deep interest in the Reservation did not 
cease with its establishment, but has continued during all the 
years that have intervened, wrote. April 27th : "< )ur in- 
formation is that the Governor will sign the bill. He was at 
Graystone last week, Friday, and the effect of his visit ap- 
peared to be marvelously good. But every one interested 
will breathe easier, when he knows the bill has actually be- 
come a law." 

In this state of uncertainty a week passed away. It was 
a week of great anxiety for the friends of the bill, particu- 
larly for the people of Niagara Falls, who were most deeply 
interested in its fate. To them it seemed as if their hopes for 
the establishment of the Reservation were doomed to dis- 
appointment and all their labors to become of no avail. 
Rumors were rife concerning the intention of the Governor 
and the consensus of opinion was that he intended to allow 
the bill to die, in lack of his signature. This view of the 
matter seemed plausible, as only three days remained of the 
time allowed for action. Under the circumstances a confer- 
ence of the members of the Xiagara Falls committee was 
held, and, on the evening of April 26th, the writer started for 
Albany in order to be on the ground to render any assistance 
that might be possible. Before starting a telegram was sent 
to Hon. X. P. Otis, at Yonkers, asking him to call at Grey- 
stone, and, if possible, ascertain from Mr. Tilden the prob- 
able intention of Governor Hill concerning the bill. At Al- 
bany, the following morning, this reply was received from 
Mr. Otis : "Gov. Hill called on Mr. Tilden last Friday and 
the whole question was fully discussed. Mr. Tilden favors 
the bill, and is confident it will be signed." Amid the con- 
flicting and often discouraging rumors of the next three 
days, this consoling message from Greystone was always 
kept in mind. 

Hon. Mathew Hale, one of the appraisers of the lands 
for the Reservation, resided in Albany. One of the first 
steps taken on arrival in Albany was to confer with him con- 
cerning" the bill in the hands of the Governor. Mr. Hale 


stated that Judge Samuel Hand of Albany was the counsel 
to the Governor in legislative matters and that he was in- 
formed that Judge Hand had expressed an opinion to the 
Governor that the Reservation bill was unconstitutional, and 
he advised an interview with Judge Hand. On calling on 
Judge Hand he admitted that he had expressed an opinion to 
the Governor that he had grave doubts of the constitutional- 
ity of any bill calling for an issue of the bonds of the State 
for one million of dollars (the limit of the Constitution), for 
any purpose excepting a great public emergency. He said 
that he did not have the Reservation bill in mind when he 
gave his opinion to the Governor and that he was heartily 
in favor of it, and added that in a sense it might be con- 
sidered a great public emergency, as the opportunity to es- 
tablish the Reservation might not occur again. When asked 
if he would so modify his opinion expressed to the Governor 
he at length consented, and wrote a letter to that effect, and 
gave it to the writer to hand to the Governor. 

When Governor Hill read the letter he threw it down 
upon his desk with a gesture of impatience, and said : 
"That's just the way with the damned lawyers; they will 
give you an opinion on one side of a question today, and on 
the other side tomorrow." Then, facing about, he said to 
the writer: '*You remind me of a story of Cleveland. When 
he came to Albany, as Governor, it was said that he did not 
know much about the politics of the State. When an ap- 
pointment of some kind was to be made, a delegation waited 
upon him and said : AVe are from St. Lawrence. You 
know. Governor, St. Lawrence is a Republican county. We 
think that one of our people should get this office in order to 
encourage our party in that section of the State.' And he 
got it. When another office was to be given, another dele- 
gation waited upon him and said: AVe are from St. Law- 
rence. You know. Governor, St. Lawrence is a Republican 
count}'. It is hard work -for us Democrats to keep alive up 
there and we think this office should go to a St. Lawrence 
Count}- man,' and it went accordingly. When yet another 
office was to be given out a third delegation waited upon 
kirn and bc^an : AVe are from St. Lawrence. You know, 


Governor, St. Lawrence is a Republican County — .' This 
was too much for Cleveland and he broke in with : 'Gentle- 
men, 1 may not know much about the politics of the State, 
but. damn it. I do know that St. Lawrence is a Republican 
county'/ Now," continued Governor Hill, "you have done 
your duty. You have sent delegation after delegation to 
me. asking me to sign this bill. There may be some things 
that I do not know, but I do know that you people up in 
Xiagara are in favor of this particular bill." There probably 
never was a man who could see through a thing of that kind 
more quickly than Governor Hill. 

For several days prominent members of the Legislature 
had been asked to call at the executive chamber and speak 
to the Governor in favor of the bill. Among others, Senator 
Cantor, then a Member of Assembly, was asked. On his re- 
turn he said: "There is no use of your sending any more 
•people to the Governor. The moment I mentioned the mat- 
ter he asked me if you had not requested me to speak to 

A few days later the Governor told a somewhat similar 
story at the expense of Hon. Rufus W. Peckham, afterwards 
a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in 
about these words: "One morning Mr. Peckham came in to 
see me about some matter, and just as he was leaving he 
said to me : 'O ! by the way. Governor, I sincerely hope you 
will give your approval to the bill for the establishment of 
the State Reservation at Xiagara.' I said to him, 'Mr. Peck- 
ham, who sent you in here to pester me about that bill?" At 
this he became quite indignant and said. 'Governor, I hope 
it is not necessary for me to be sent here to speak to you in 
behalf of a bill to preserve the scenery of the Falls of Xiag- 
ara. It is a measure that appeals to the mind and heart of 
every enlightened and patriotic citizen and I am surprised, 
Governor, that you should ask me such a question.' A few 
moments after his departure Senator Robb came hurriedly 
into the executive chamber. The moment I saw him I knew 
I had my man, and I said to him: 'Senator, why did you 
send Peckham in here to bother me about that Xiagara bill?' 
At which Senator Robb said : 'Well, I saw him as he came 


up the hill and asked him if he would not drop in and say a 
word to yon in favor of it.' " 

During the three days spent in Albany the committee at 
Niagara Falls, the commissioners and attorneys, and the as- 
sociation in Xew York City were kept informed by letter and 
telegram of the prevailing indications. The telegram from 
Air. Otis saying that Mr. Tilden was confident the hill would 
be signed was the only thing to which the friends of the bill 
could cling. At this time their patience was thoroughly ex- 
hausted. Their disappointment at the course pursued by the 
Governor was almost unbounded. Many of them gave free 
expression to their feelings. ( me, a State official, said : 
"Let him veto it, and we will kill him at the polls !" Another, 
a newspaper man, said : "If he vetoes it and becomes a can- 
didate for reelection, I will put up my hired man against 
him. He would stand just as good a chance of election." 
This feeling was particularly strong at Niagara Falls, where 
the strain was greatest. And subsequently, when Gov. Hill 
became a candidate for reelection, and probably expected a 
large complimentary vote at Niagara Falls, where the Reser- 
vation had been established, he did not get it, as he should 
have received it. although a special effort was made in his 
behalf. The people remembered that he had delayed favor- 
able action upon the bill until the last moment, apparently 
forgetting that "the Lord lovetlr a cheerful giver." On 
the other hand, when we remember that the bill was 
strongly opposed in the rural counties of the State, and 
that there was a large and influential body of our citizens 
who believed the project should be carried out by the 
National Government; when we consider that it was a new 
departure in State policy* which might lead to great abuses, 
and that many thought it highly imprudent to bond the State 
to the limit of the Constitution for such an object lest 
some great public emergency should arise, such as a 
calamity to the Erie Canal, for which there would be no 
adequate constitutional provision remaining, for which 
reason the bill was regarded with disfavor by the Comptrol- 
ler and other State officers — it is not to be wondered that the 
Governor hesitated to gfive it his signature, and the fact that 


he did not seek to score a point upon his political opponents 
who were in the majority in the Legislature and make po- 
litical capital by vetoing it, but that he did give it his ap- 
proval under such circumstances, entitled him to the grati- 
tude of the citizens of Niagara Falls, which debt of gratitude 
was increased by his favorable action on all of the bills aris- 
ing from the development of the water power at Niagara 
during the eventful seven years of his service as Governor 
of the State. 

April 30th, the last day allowed by law, arrived, and the 
forenoon was spent in a state of feverish anxiety — not less- 
ened by frequent rumors of a veto in the Senate or Assem- 
bly ; some of them started in a spirit of mischief by the 
newspaper reporters. When noon came it seemed as if the 
bill would surely fail, for lack of executive approval. But 
the darkest hour is just before daybreak. Shortly after noon 
a newspaper man hurriedly came to the writer in the Assem- 
bly chamber and said that the Governor had just signed the 
Niagara bill. A hurried passage was made to the office of 
the Secretary of State to see if the bill had been received 
from the Governor. It had not been received. At that mo- 
ment the door was opened by the Governor's messenger, who 
placed the bill in the hands of the writer, saying: "Here is 
your little joker." A glance at the bill showed it to be the 
Niagara Reservation bill and on the last page was the much- 
coveted signature of David B. Hill, rivaling that of Grover 
Cleveland in diminutive handwriting. 

After telegraphing the news of the approval of the bill to 
Niagara Falls. Buffalo and New York City, in company with 
Hon. ( ). \Y. Cutler, who was also on the ground, a visit was 
made to the Governor to thank him for his action. The 
Governor was in the best of humor and recounted many 
amusing incidents of the way in which he had been besieged 
by the friends of the bill. ( )n the way down the hill from 
the Capitol, with Mr. Cutler and Col. Gillett, a stop was 
made at "Thornton's" for refreshments. There we met a 
man. notorious for years in Albany as the leader of "the 
lobby." He expressed satisfaction at the approval of the bill 
and said: "The Toys' wanted to 'strike' that bill but I told 


them they must not do it; that it was a hill that ought to 
pass without the expenditure of a dollar — and it did." 

Undoubtedly the honorable position taken by the friends 
of the bill and the land owners ; the fairness of all the legal 
proceedings; the entire absence of jobbery and corruption, 
from first to last, commanded the respect and commendation 
of the people of the State. Any departure from this high 
ground would have been fatal to the measure. 

There are grounds for believing that a veto message was 
prepared by the Governor. That he did not exercise the veto 
power is probably due to the influence of Samuel J. Tilden, 
as intimated in a letter from Mr. Otis, a neighbor of Mr. 
Tilden, received after the approval of the bill, in which he 
says : ' I am greatly pleased that Governor Hill was not 
misled by the clamor of a few interested parties in deciding 
so important a matter. My impression is, however, that the 
bill had a very narrow escape, in fact it is the general im- 
pression about here that a veto message had been written 
when Gov. Hill called on Mr. Tilden. Be that as it may the 
decision finally reached was wise and sagacious, and will re- 
flect credit on both the Governor and Mr. Tilden." A like 
view of the close escape of the bill from a veto was also held 
by Hon. Erastus Brooks, the powerful champion of the 
movement in 1883, its constant friend, and very properly 
the chairman of the day at the exercises of dedication, July 
15. 1885. He also intimated that President Gleveland inter- 
vened in behalf of the measure. In a letter written a short 
time before his death, he says: "It was 'the pull altogether" 
that put the bill through, and in the end only an intense and 
intelligent public opinion saved the bill in the Senate, and 
its clear defeat in the form of an executive veto. I was 
among those who pleaded with the Governor for his signa- 
ture and the President's urgency, I think, made assurance 
doubly sure in the end." Be that as it may, at the banquet 
given by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce at Niagara 
Falls, June it, 1897, after the Reservation bill of 1885 had 
been a law for about 12 years, it was gratifying to hear Gov- 
ernor Hill express his satisfaction with his part in signing* 


the bill, saying that while he did not claim great credit for 
some oi his official acts, that that was one of which lie was 
particularly proud. 

Note.— The State Park at Niagara Falls was formally delivered to the people 

of the State of New York on Wednesday, July 15. 1885. The ceremonies of that 
day drew thither the largest gathering ever there up to that time, estimated in cur- 
rent newspaper reports at 75,000. There was a parade of some 2.000 troops, includ 
ing United State- regulars and various organizations of the National Guard of the 
State, many towns being represented; and a detachment of marines from the L'nited 
State? man-of-war Michigan, with bands of music from Niagara Falls, Buffalo, 
Utica and Cleveland, the latter accompanying the Ohio militia organization known 
as the Cleveland Grays. The Mexican National band was also present. A salute 
of 100 guns was tired at sunrise by the 7th Battery, N. G. S. N. V. The ceremo- 
nies attending the transfer of the lands were held at Prospect I'ark at u o'clock 
noon, Hon. Erastus Brooks being president of the day. The exercises consisted of 
a prayer by Kt.*Rev. A. Cleveland Coxe; the singing of the National Anthem and 
of "The Star-Spangled Banner " by a chorusof 400, drawn from the Orpheus and 
Schubert societies of Niagara Falls, and the ( Irpheus, Saengerbund and Liedertafel 
societies of Buffalo; a presentation address by Hon. William Dorsheimer. president 
of the Commission; response by Gov. David II. Hill; oration by Hon. James C. 
Carter of New York; the singing of Keller's "American Hymn," Doxology, bene- 
diction and a Federal salute. The 1'urtalo Historical Society was represented on 
the occa-ion by the following committee: William II. II. Newman, president; Hon. 
James Sheldon, vice-president; Dr. Leon F. Harvey, recording secretary; George 
G. Barnum, corresponding secretary; Sherman S. Jewett, Hon. E. (i. Spaulding, 
Hon. James (). Putnam, Gerhard Lang, Hon. James M. Smith, William Clement 
Bryant. Rev. A. T. Chester, D. D., Hon. E. S. Hawley, Cen. John C. Craves, Wil- 
liam K. Allen. Thomas F». French, George W. Townsend, J. H. Tilden, Emmor 
Haines, Otto Besser. Charles B. Germain. Among many other distinguished guests 
were Lt.-Gov. Robinson of the Province of Ontario. Hon. Oliver Mowat, Premier 
of Ontario, and many other Provincial officials and officers of the Niagara Park 
Commission for Ontario. Letters were read from President Cleveland, the Gover- 
nor General of Canada, and Samuel J. Tilden; and a cabled message of congratula- 
tion from the Commons Reservation Society of London, Ener. The day ended in a 
blaze of fireworks glory on both sides of the Niagara. 

3 < < 





Superintendent, 1377-1897- 

The Buffalo Library was known during the first 50 years 
of its life as the Library of the Young" Men's Association, or, 
in common speech, as the Young A ten's Library, of Buffalo. 
An earlier "Buffalo Library"— a little village collection of 
hooks, about 700 in number — had been formed in 18 16, by a 
small company of stockholders who held together until 1832. 
A second library and literary society was organized near the 
close of 1830, under the name of the Buffalo Lyceum, which 
seemed vigorous for a time in several directions of activity, 
but which had no long existence. It was not until the winter 
of '1836 that a movement with some really lasting energy in 
it was set on foot, and resulted in the organization of the 
Young Men's Association of the City of Buffalo. The in- 
cidents and circumstances of that movement were inves- 
tigated carefully by the late Charles I). Norton, when he 
prepared his historical address, delivered en the occasion of 
the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Asso- 
ciation, in 1861, and he wrote: "If it were necessary to 
state the names of the men who deserve the title of founders 
of this association, it could only be said that the general and 
recognized necessity for such an institution induced a variety 


of effort, in which all the young men of the place were more 
or less engaged. The letters furnished to me, by gentlemen 
of this city, rentier it not a little difficult to determine whose 
is the especial honor, but they indicate the general interest 
taken in it by our citizens." in the Commercial Advertiser 
of Feb. 20, 1836, Mr. Norton found the following notice, 
signed by nearly 400 citizens, "comprising all classes, trades 
and professions": 

Y. M. Association. — The young men of Buffalo friendly to the 
foundation of a Young Men's Association tor mutual improvement 
in literature and science, are requested to meet at the Court House 
on Monday, the 22A day of February, at the hour of 7 P. M. 

At the meeting which followed this notice, Hon. Hiram 
Pratt presided, and Richard L. Allen and Isaac" W. Skinner 
were secretaries. A constitution had been previously pre- 
pared at the office of Mr. Seth C. Hawley, copied in a great 
degree from that of the Young Men's Association at Albany, 
which was submitted to this meeting by Mr. Frederick P. 
Stevens. After some sharp discussion the constitution was 
adopted, and an adjournment was had to the 29th of the 
same month, that the constitution might be examined and 
subscribed. On the adjourned day Mr. Roswell \V. Haskins 
presided, Mr. George E. Hayes was secretary, and a com- 
mittee of seven was appointed to nominate officers : and, 
with Mr. Henry K. Smith and Mr. Dyre Tillinghast acting 
as tellers, the persons who had become members elected as 
president Seth C. Hawley ; Dr. Charles W'inne, Samuel X. 
Callender, and George Brown as vice-presidents ; Frederick 
P. Stevens, corresponding secretary; A. G. C. Cochrane, 
recording secretary, and John R. Lee. treasurer. The man- 
agers chosen were Oliver G. Steele, Henn K. Smith, 
William H. Lacy, Geo. \Y. Allen, Chas. H. Raymond, Henry 
R. Williams, George E, Hayes, Halsey R. Wing, Rushmore 
Poole and Hunting S. Chamberlain. 

The Association came into existence at a time when 
everybody felt rich. It was the year of bubbles in land spec- 
ulation which preceded the great collapse of 1837. A sub- 
scription that ran up to $6,700 in amount was raised with 


astonishing ease to give the new library a solid footing. The 
books of the old Buffalo Library and of the Lyceum were 
transferred to it, considerable purchases were made under a 
contract with the Messrs. Butler, ana 2,700 volumes in all 
were collected before the end of the year. The chief feature 
of the institution, however, was its newspaper reading-room, 
where six quarterly, 10 monthly and 44 weekly publications 
were en tile, and which boasted of being the completest in 
any city west of Xew York. 

The financial crash of 1S37 swept many imagined for- 
tunes out of existence, and with them a great part of the 
small endowment which the library was supposed to have 
secured in the subscriptions alluded to above. Its member- 
ship fell away, it was weighted with some debt which it had 
contracted too hopefully, and for half a dozen years, or 
more, it struggled doubtfully and hard between life and 
death. But there was pluck in the young men of those days, 
and a Spartan band among them stood fast by the Associa- 
tion through all difficulties until the coming of more pros- 
perous times. Xot, however, until 1845, under the presi- 
dency of Mr. Gibson T. Williams, was it cleared of debt and 
fairly launched upon its successful career. 

The original rooms of the Association were on the upper 
floors of the building then owned by Mr. Joseph Dart, num- 
bered 175 Main Street, now numbered 219, being three doors 
below Seneca Street. Mr. B. W. Jenks, a portrait painter, 
occupied adjoining rooms and became nominally the first 
librarian by reason of that circumstance, undertaking to 
overlook the library while pursuing his own work. In reality, 
the functions of the first librarian were performed by Mr. 
J. F. Young of Williamsville, then a lad taking lessons in art 
from Mr. Jenks. and to whom the latter delegated the care 
of the neighboring books and newspapers. Subsequently, 
the post was accepted by Dr. Charles II. Raymond, who had 
been prominent among the founders of the library and fore- 
most in activity of effort to sustain it. The labor that he as- 
sumed, said Mr. Norton, speaking in [861, and the patience 
he displayed under great discouragements, and the resolu- 
tion with which he persisted in his unrewarded toil, assign 


to him a place among its chief benefactors. He was a ripe 
and good scholar, and had all a scholar's modesty. Dr. 
Raymond served as librarian until some time in 1839, when 
he was succeeded by Mr. Phineas Sargeant, who remained 
at the desk until 1850. 

In May, 1841, the Association removed to South Division 
Street, in rooms over the shops now numbered 15 and 16, 
the library being at one side of the stairway, while a small 
lecture room was fitted up on the other side. These rooms 
became inadequate and unsuitable before man}" years had 
passed. The first movement which the discontent with them 
engendered took the form of a building project, and in 1848 
the undertaking was very seriously set on foot. It went so 
far that a building committee, having the matter in charge, 
boug'ht a lot of ground for the purpose, 48 feet front by 91 
feet deep, on the north side of Eagle Street, between Main 
and Pearl streets, for $3,000. This was done, however, on 
their individual responsibility. The}- procured plans and 
specifications, contemplating a structure which would cost 
from $8, coo to Si 2.000. They secured the passage of an act 
authorizing the Association to borrow Si 5,000 on its bonds, 
and they invited subscriptions from citizens in aid of the 
project. An elegant blank-book, richly bound in Russia 
leather, with an inscription upon the side: "Building sub- 
scriptions. Young Men's Association, 1848," is still pre- 
served among the archives of the library. But, alas ! its 
inviting white leaves have no stain of ink. Xot an auto- 
graph is found in it.- 

The premature building project came to naught : but it 
had its effect, without doubt, in stimulating a movement to 
the American Block, which took place in 1852. American 
Hall was leased, with commodious rooms for the library un- 
derneath, and the circumstances as well as the situation of 
the Association were greatly improved. The hall became a 
source of considerable income ; the annual lecture courses 
grew more popular and profitable : membership increased 
and the course of advancing prosperity was generally 



Meantime, in 1850, failing health had caused the resig- 
nation of Mr. Fhineas Sargeant from the librarianship and 
Mr. Lewis Jenkins succeeded to him. Lint a few months 
after the removal in 1852 Mr. Jenkins resigned, in his turn, 
and Mr. William Ives was appointed in his place. * 

A period of 12 uneventful years followed, during which 
the Association and its library gained slowly but steadily in 
strength and character. As early as 1856 we begin to rind 
complaint again in the annual reports of insufficient room 
for new books, and the talk of building reappears. The late 
George Palmer gave encouragement to the scheme that year 
by a munificent proposition. He offered to present to the 
Association a lot of land valued at $12,000, with $10,000 in 
money additional, provided that $90,000 more should be 
raised from other sources for an adequate building. The 
condition could not be fulfilled and the offered gift was lost. 
Xext year the business world was strewn with the ruins of 
a financial earthquake. A little later came the political agi- 
tations which preceded the Civil War, and then the war 
itself. There was little use in that period of talking or 
thinking about anything better for the library than the quar- 
ters which it had outgrown. Some growth went on, despite 
the tumult and despite the crowding. Just when the guns at 
Sumter were being trained to fire their war signal, on the 
evening of the 22(1 of March, 1 86 r , the Association cele- 
brated its quarter-centennial anniversary with stately cere- 
mony and fine enthusiasm. The exercises, held in St. James 
Hall, were notably interesting. Mr. David Gray read a very 
noble poem, the strains of which are still lingering in the 
memory of those who heard it. Mr. Charles D. Norton de- 
livered the historical address, which has been quoted from 
above. Other addresses were made by Joseph Warren, then 
president of the Association ; Hon. J. G. Masten. Hon. 
William Dorsheimer and Mr. Edward Stevens, with inter- 
ludes of music, both vocal and instrumental. 

* Mr. lve< still happily continues as librarian of the expanded institution. The 
50th anniversary of his connection with the library was celebrated on April j, iyoj. 
with gifts to Mr. I ves, adoption of complimentary resolutions, and a public recep- 
tion.. His name has been bestowed upon one of the branch libraries. 


These exercises were found so interesting and awakened 
so much life in the Association that something of like char- 
acter was planned for the next animal meeting, held Feb. 17, 
1862. Again, Mr. Gray contributed a memorable poem, 
while the late Judge Clinton delivered an admirable address, 
retrospective of events in the general history of the city. 

Meantime, even amid the agitations of war, there* oc- 
curred a revival of the dormant building project. It came 
to life in connection with the acceptance by the City of Buf- 
falo of the bequest which founded the Grosvenor Library. 
Immediate efforts were set on foot to bring about a coopera- 
tive building undertaking looking to the permanent planting 
of the two libraries side by side. The original trustees of the 
Grosvenor Library, Messrs. O. H. Marshall, George R. 
Babcock and J. G. Masten, were found to be favorable to the 
scheme. In the beginning it contemplated the acquisition, 
by gift from the city, of the old Mohawk Street market 
ground ( now the site of the Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion building)," to be divided between the Young Men's As- 
sociation and the Grosvenor Library, each to build upon its 
own part, but the contiguous buildings to be one in external 
unity. The undertaking looked hopeful for a time ; then 
came various difficulties. Adjacent lots which were needed 
could not be reasonably bought, and some opposition to the 
Mohawk Street location was found to exist. This was in 
1862, when the war was at a gloomy crisis and national af- 
fairs were in a doubtful state. Yet, the executive committee 
of that year, with Gen. R. L. Howard at the head were un- 
daunted and persevering. They procured building subscrip- 
tions to an amount exceeding The}' invited pro- 
posals for suitable building sites and reported nine offers, 
which were taken into consideration. One of these, which 
was for a lot of ground on Main Street, above Huron, and 
opposite the North Church, gave so much satisfaction that 
the president. Gen. Howard, bought the property in his own 
name to secure it. The lot on the northerly side of Eagle 
Street, fronting 53 feet on Main Street and running to 

*Tobe abandoned within a few months for still more ample quarters, its new 
building bounded by Genesee. Mohawk and Franklin streets. 



Washington Street, was also proposed, Mr. S. V. R. Watson, 
who owned a half interest in the property, offering to make 
his interest a gift; but negotiations with owners of the ad- 
jacent ground to secure some necessary addition of space 
were not successful. 

So the building project went over to the next year 
( 1863), when Mr. S. V. R. Watson became president of the 
Association. Again there were many plans and many sites 
discussed, and several conferences were held by the building 
committee with the trustees of the Grosvenor Library and 
delegates from the Fine Arts Academy, the Historical So- 
ciety and the Society of Natural Sciences. The result was 
the provisional adoption of a "plan contemplating the union 
of all the societies and the Grosvenor Library in the erection 
of a suitable building for their general accommodation, a 
specific part to be appropriated to each society, and the title 
of the premises to be vested in the Young Men's Association, 
except such part thereof as should be occupied by die 
Grosvenor Library." But subsequently the Fine Arts Acad- 
emy and Historical Society demanded modifications of the 
plan which the executive committee of the Y. M. A. "deemed 
it would be unwise for this Association to adopt" and it was 
thereafter abandoned. 

But, immediately on this, followed a movement which 
proved brilliantly successful, and which placed the library 
on sure ground for all time, as we may reasonably believe. 
President Watson opened negotiations with Messrs. Albert 
and George Brisbane for the purchase of the premises on 
Main, Eagle and Washington streets, known as the St. 
James Hotel and St. James Hall. Before the year closed, an 
agreement had been signed which secured three months' 
time for concluding the purchase of these premises at the 
price of $112,500. Within the stipulated three months, 
which expired March 26, 1864, a building fund amounting 
to $81,655 was raised by subscription among the members 
and friends of the Association, in sums which ranged from 
S5 to $3,000, and the purchase of the St. James Hotel and 
Hall property was duly consummated. A mortgage to the 
Erie Count v Savings Bank for $^0,000 provided money for 


the completion of payments to the Messrs. Brisbane, and for 

the alterations required to be made in the premises. Pos- 
session of the hotel was secured Sept. 1st, and the necessary 
changes of interior construction were so speedily made that 
the library was formally installed in its new home on the 
I oth day of January, 1865. The occasion was distinguished 
by addresses from President Watson and from the late 
Oliver G. Steele, and by another poem from the pen of David 
Gray. It was the one, well remembered among BufTalonians, 
in which he paid his tender tribute to the brave McMahon, 
telling "How the young Colonel died." 

In the reconstructed hotel building, the Association oc- 
cupied the second floor with its library and reading-rooms, 
well accommodated. On the third, fourth and fifth rioors 
suitable rooms were prepared for the Fine Arts Academy, 
the Historical Society and the Society of Xatural Sciences, 
under an arrangement that was liberal in its terms. Soon 
afterwards the Grosvenor Library, then just beginning its 
collection of books, the Law Library (also in the infant 
stage), the Young Men's Christian Association, the Young 
Men's Catholic Association, the Erie County Medical So- 
ciety and the Firemen's Benevolent Association were all 
given habitations in the hospitable building at moderate rates 
of rent. The Grosvenor Library was presently removed to 
other quarters, and several of the societies named were ten- 
ants for a few years only. 

Four large stores on the ground floor of the building, and 
St. James Hall at the rear, on Eagle and Washington streets, 
were leased on satisfactory terms, and brought in a hand- 
some rental. 

The Association was now very happy in its circum- 
stances. Its library was well placed, with convenient ar- 
rangements and with space for a considerable growth. Its 
reading-rooms were commodious and pleasant. It had ad- 
vanced in public favor and its membership increased. Its 
property, ably managed by three real-estate commissioners, 
yielded revenues which extinguished the mortgage debt upon 
it within 13 years. At the same time the library enjoyed 
more liberal appropriations for books than had been possible 


before. Yet the accumulation of books was soon thought to 
be proceeding too slowly, and in [869, under the presidency 
of Mr. Henry A. Richmond, a special fund for immediate 
purchases was provided by an issue of bonds. This gave to 
the library committees of the following- two years nearly 
$19,000 for expenditure, and the total of books was raised 
from about 16,000 in 1870, to 25,000 in 1872, while a full 
and excellent catalogue was prepared and printed, supplying 
a want that had been urgent for many years. 

The five years next following were not eventful in the 
life of the Association ; but in 1877 an important amendment 
of its constitution was brought into effect. The object of the 
amendment was to cure the evil influence upon the library of 
an annual change in its administrative committees. There- 
after, the immediate supervision of the library was entrusted 
to three "curators." one elected each year, with two other 
members' of the executive committee, appointed annually, 
forming a library committee; while the 12 directors in the 
executive committee were elected, four annually, for terms 
of three years each. 

Soon afterwards, a change was made in the working or- 
ganization of the library by creating the office of superin- 
tendent, Mr. J. X. Larned being appointed to the place and 
entering upon its duties in April, 1877. During that year 
and the following one, the library, which contained about 
30,000 volumes at the beginning of the work, was reclassified 
and rearranged throughout on what is known as the 
"movable system." or "system of relative location" for books, 
and a new card catalogue was made for the whole. 

By the final extinction of the mortgage debt of the Asso- 
ciation, at the beginning of 1878, a more continuous liberal- 
ity of appropriations for the purchase of books was intro- 
duced from that date. Yet the total book expenditure of 
the succeeding 10 years barely equalled that of the preceding 
decade, owing to the large extra fund that had been raised 
and applied in 1871 and 1872. In the 10 years 1868- 1877, 
21,498 volumes of books were added to the library, .and 
$37,200 expended. In the 10 years 1878- 1887, 29.224 vol- 
umes were added, and the expenditure was $37,139. This 


accelerated growth soon crowded the library shelves and 
forced extensions and changes of arrangements that were 
found every year more inconvenient and troublesome. At 
the same time, with the increasing value of the collection of 
books, an increasing desire was felt to see it more safely 
housed. Hence arose often recurring demands for the con- 
struction of a fire-proof library building. Attention had 
long been fixed upon the ground occupied by the old county 
buildings, vacated in 1876 (Washington, Broadway, Ellicott 
and Clinton streets), as offering the most desirable site, and 
several movements to secure the property were made, but 
with no result. In 1880 there was serious talk of purchasing 
the old Unitarian Church, at the corner of Franklin and 
Eagle streets, and converting it into a fire-proof structure for 
the library. Plans and estimates for the work were procured 
and considered, but the project did not meet with favor and 
was dropped. The suggested fire-proof reconstruction of 
the old church building was afterwards carried out by the 
Austin estate for business purposes. 

In the autumn of 1882 a movement by various parties to 
bring about the sale of the county property mentioned above 
showed strong influence in the Board of Supervisors, and it 
appeared probable that the fine site in question would soon 
pass to private owners and be turned to some not very digni- 
fied commercial use. Hon. Sherman S. Rogers and Hon. 
James M. Smith, conversing on the subject one morning, 
resolved suddenly to rescue from that ignoble fate a piece of 
ground which seemed conspicuously designed for a worthy 
public edifice. They found seven other gentlemen to join 
them in forming a syndicate composed as follows : Sherman 
S. Rogers, James M. Smith, Sherman S. Jewett, Francis H. 
Root, Charles Berrick, O. P. Ramsdell. Dexter P. Rumsey, 
Pascal P. Pratt, Geo. Howard. These gentlemen, without 
delay submitted proposals to the Board of Supervisors for 
the purchase of the ground in question, under agreement to 
transfer the same at any time within 12 months to any one 
or more of several societies and institutions named, which 
might determine to buy and build upon the site. Their pro- 


posal was accepted and the conveyance of the property wa! 
duly made to them. 

The public spirit of the city was now challenged to make 
use of the opportunity thus secured. It was felt that the 
stipulated year must not be suffered to pass without deter- 
mining an undertaking in some mode to cover the site 
worthily, and to gather there, if possible, under one stately 
roof, the representative institutions of art, science and litera- 
ture. The Young Men's Association was looked to for lead- 
ership in the enterprise. At the next election of the Associa- 
tion, in February, 18S3, Mr. Edward B. Smith was chosen 
president, distinctly with a view to enlisting his known 
energy and resoluteness. Under Mr. Smith's command the 
campaign was soon opened. The trustees of the Grosvenor 
Library and the citizens' committee, or syndicate, which held 
the old court-house property, joined the officers of the As- 
sociation in sending out to prominent citizens an invitation 
phrased as follows : 

A meeting of gentlemen will be held at 8 o'clock on Wednesday 
evening, April 18th, at the residence of Mr. Sherman S. Jewett, for 
the purpose of consultation respecting plans for the improvement of 
the old court-house lands, with a view to establishing the important 
art, literary, and scientific institutions of the city in a suitable edifice 
upon that most central and commanding site. 

We are permitted by Mr. Jewett to invite to this conference a 
few of the prominent citizens most likely to feel interest in the mat- 
ter, and such invitation is respectfully extended to you. It is hoped 
you will not fail to be present. 

The meeting was largely attended and gave a powerful 
impetus to the undertaking by its encouraging spirit. Mr. 
Smith submitted a plan of proceeding, which contemplated 
the cooperation of the Grosvenor Library with the Young 
Men's Association in the erection of a building, or of two 
buildings which might be substantially one in design, to ac- 
commodate not only themselves, but likewise the Fine Arts 
Academy, the Historical Society and the Society of Natural 
Sciences: the Young Men's Association to raise for the pur- 
pose about $175,000. by bonds and otherwise, the Grosvenor 
Library to expend its accumulated building fund of $65,000, 


and $100,000 or $125,000 additional to be procured by pri- 
vate subscriptions from the friends of the enterprise. The 
plan was generally approved by the meeting, and resolutions 
were adopted which recommended the Association to enter 
upon the proposed undertaking with vigor, and at once. 
After the adjournment a subscription book was opened and 
headed with the signatures of Sherman S. Jewett and Sher- 
man S. Rogers, with 85,000 attached to each. 

From this auspicious beginning the subscription was 
pushed actively, but did not advance with the rapidity that 
might have been expected. The 1st of December found 
some $30,000 still wanting to make up the $100,000 which 
the terms of the subscription required to be raised before the 
end of thai month. The prospect was discouraging, and not 
many men would have confronted it with the determination 
shown by President Smith. He had no thought of relin- 
quishing the undertaking. Having apparently exhausted the 
subscriptions in large sums, or nearly so, he turned to the 
whole membership of the Association, and to the public at 
large, with a strong appeal for contributions of any and 
every amount within the means of the contributor. The re- 
sponse to this appeal was surprising. A single week changed 
the whole aspect of affairs. For sums ranging all the way 
'from $1 to S500, subscriptions in amazing numbers were 
poured in, and the total footing reached and passed $100,000 
some days before the close of the month. The final result 
was a building-fund subscription which aggregated about 
$117,000, nearly all of which proved eventually to be good. 

The undertaking was now assured, and attention was 
promptly turned to the procuring of satisfactory designs 
and plans for the nascent edifice. The superintendent of the 
library was deputed to visit several eastern cities, to confer 
with leading architects and to study the construction and 
arrangements of the best library buildings. By the concur- 
rent action of the executive committee and the board of real 
estate, a building committee of five was appointed, to which 
large powers were delegated, for the supervision and direc- 
tion of the contemplated work. The committee was con- 
stituted as follows : Edward B. Smith, chairman ; Jewett 


M. Richmond, John G. Milburn, George B. Hayes, J. N. 

The first proceeding of the building committee was to 
open conferences and correspondence with the trustees of the 
Grcsvenor Library and with the managing boards of the 
Fine Arts Academy, the Society of Xatural Sciences, and 
the Historical Society, [t was soon found that the trustees 
of the Grosvenor Library entertained views respecting the 
division of cost and of accommodations between the two li- 
braries, and consequent plans of building, which differed so 
radically from the views held on the side of the Association 
that no possible reconciliation of them could be hoped for. 
All attempts, therefore, to arrange a cooperative enterprise 
were abandoned, and the Association addressed itself inde- 
pendently to the work. Little difficulty was found in ar- 
riving at an understanding with the three other societies ex- 
pecting to be tenants of the building when completed. It 
was agreed with the Fine Arts Academy that rooms and 
sky-lighted galleries to cover not less than a certain desig- 
nated area on the second floor should be provided "for its 
uncontrolled use, during whatever period it may choose to 
occupy the same as an art gallery, free of any rent-charge, 
but subject only to the conditions that it shall maintain the 
said portion of the building in proper repair, and that it 
shall pay its proportion of the cost of warming the build- 
ing." With the Historical Society and the Society of Xatu- 
ral Sciences the agreement was for a tenancy on similar 
terms, but limited to 25 years in duration, after which time, 
or earlier if the premises in question should be vacated, "the 
Association may reclaim the same." Rooms for the His- 
torical Society were to be not less than 4,500 square feet in 
area, on the third floor, and those for the Society of X'atural 
Sciences in the basement, 10,000 square feet in area at the 

Meantime — and long previously, in fact — careful studies 
were being made to determine the form of building and the 
arrangement of floor plans that would seem to satisfy the 
wants of the library and the demands of the associated group 
of institutions in the most perfect way. The peculiar trape- 


zoklal lot of ground to be built upon offered difficulties and 
advantages, in equal measure, perhaps, and made the prob- 
lem interesting. As the fruit of these studies, a set of floor- 
plan sketches was prepared, by way of- suggestion to the 
architects who might undertake to submit designs for the 
building. The architects of the city were all invited to offer 
competitive designs, and the same invitation was extended to 
13 architects in other cities. The middle of April had been 
reached before these invitations were sent out. To each 
architect invited there was sent a copy of the suggested floor 
plans mentioned above, together with a printed circular which 
described, in full detail, all the wants to be satisfied and 
all the conditions to be met in the construction and arrange- 
ments of the building. The limit of time named for receiv- 
ing designs was July 1st. At the appointed date 11 archi- 
tects were found to have submitted designs to the committee, 
but anonymously, as was prescribed. The 11 competitors, 
subsequently identified, were : H. H. Richardson, Brook- 
line, Mass. ; Van Brunt & Howe, Boston ; C. L. W. Eidlitz, 
New York; W. H. Wilcox, St. Paul, Minn.; William Wat- 
son, Montreal ; Warner & Brockett, Rochester, N. Y. ; C. K. 
Porter, Buffalo; Beebe and Freeman, Buffalo; August 
Esenweih and F. W. Humble, Buffalo ; C. R. Percival, Buf- 
falo ; H. Macdiarmid, Buffalo. 

After careful and long consideration, the building com- 
mittee, on the nth of July, adopted as its choice, with 
unanimity, the design submitted by Mr. C. L. W. Eidlitz of 
Xew York. At the same time, the second premium that had 
been offered was awarded to Mr. Richardson, and the third 
to Mr. Wilcox. The action of the committee was confirmed 
by the executive committee of the association, and it was un- 
questionably approved by the general public verdict. 

Arrangements were now promptly concluded with Mr. 
Eidlitz for the preparation of working plans and specifica- 
tions, and early in October a contract for the excavation and 
foundation work of the building was let. Ground was 
broken on the morning of the 8th of October, in the presence 
of a few ladies and gentlemen who had warning of the event, 
and who took the place of the laborers for a time in handling 


plough and shovel. The first wag-on was loaded by these 
volunteers and the first spadeful of earth thrown into it by 
Mrs. S. Y. R. Watson. 

In January, 1885, the contracts for the principal work- 
were let. At this time the building plans contemplated a 
strictly fire-proof construction for only the Broadway wing 
of the building, in -which the book-room of the library and 
the picture gallery of the Fine Arts Academy were to be 
placed. Xo more than that could be done within the limit of 
$225,000 that had been fixed for the cost of construction. 
But further consideration led to a revision of these plans, 
and it was determined that the whole structure should be 
made fire-proof. Supplementary contracts were accordingly 
made, under which work began in April. 

Mr. Smith had been reelected president in February. 
1884, but declined a third election the following year, plead- 
ing the pressure of his private business affairs upon his at- 
tention and time. He accepted, however, a seat in the board 
of real estate. His natural successor in the presidency was 
Mr. Jewett M. Richmond, who had been one of the building 
committee and prominently active in the whole movement. 
Mr. Richmond was reelected in 1886 and again in 1887, and 
surrendered his services very largely to the undertaking, 
giving close personal attention to it throughout. 

The vacancy in the building committee caused by the re- 
tirement of Mr. Smith (Mr. Richmond then becoming chair- 
man of the committee) was filled by the appointment of Mr. 
Henry C. French. In the following year, 1S86, Mr. French 
and Mr. Geo. B. Hayes were withdrawn from the building 
committee by the expiration of their terms in the executive 
Committee, and were succeeded by. Messrs. Howard H. 
Baker and Robert R. Hefford. 

Work was pressed vigorously by most of the contractors. 
but lasted through 1885, 1886, and until March. 1887, before 
the last details were finished. In May, 1886, by an act of the 
Legislature of Xew York, the ''Young Men's Association of 
Buffalo" became, by change of name, "The Buffalo Library,'' 
and its "executive committee" was changed in title to a 
"board of managers." 


On Monday, the 13th of September, [886, the removal of 
the library to its new home was begun. The new building 
was not yet in readiness for it, but the old building was no 
longer hospitable. The latter had been leased to Messrs. 
Stafford & Co. for reversion to its original uses as a hotel. 
Extensive changes of interior construction required to be 
made, and the commencement of work upon these necessarily 
hastened the departure of the library. As an unfortunate 
consequence, its books were put out of use for nearly four 
months. It was not until the third day of January, 1887, 
that the stately portals on Broadway could be opened to 

' Even then the opening was informal and incomplete. 
The ceremonious and official introduction of the public to the 
new building was postponed until the evening of Monday, 
Feb. 7th, when the Library united with the Fine Arts Acad- 
emy, the Historical Society and the Society of Xatural 
Sciences, in a general reception of their members and 
friends. A prayer by Bishop Coxe, brief addresses by 
President Richmond of the Library, Vice-President Sher- 
man S. Rogers of the Fine Arts Academy, President D. S. 
Kellicott of the Society of Natural" Sciences, and ex-Presi- 
dent. James Sheldon of the Historical Society, with a short 
reminiscent sketch by Mr. John R. Lee, the first treasurer of 
the Young Men's Association, and the only survivor of its 
board of officers, were the simple dedicatory exercises that 
had been prepared. Notwithstanding unfavorable weather, 
the guests of the evening numbered many thousands, and 
the splendid building, thronged in every part, presented a 
memorable scene. A programme of music, performed by the 
Philharmonic Orchestra, gave appropriate entertainment to 
the visitors. The library at this time was fully settled and 

Note. — On March 18. 1887, the building which the Buffalo Library had vacated 
the preceding September, and which (still owned by the library 1 had become the 
Richmond hotel, was destroyed by fire, 15 persons perishing in the flames or dying 
from injuries received in trying to escape. It was one of the most horrible calami- 
ties in the history of Buffalo, and cast a great shadow over what seemed to be the 
happy fortunes of the library. The decision was promptly reached to rebuild on the 
site, as nearly fireproof as possible. The present Iroquois hotel, occupy ing the site 
of the burned building and of St. James Mall, adjacent. i> the result of that decision. 



IN THE YEAR 1 897. 


Superintendent since 1897. 

The establishment of a free public library may certainly 
be considered the most notable event in the history of our 
city during the year 1897. 

It was not, my privilege to observe the preliminary steps 
of the movement which resulted in founding the free library, 
as I received the appointment of superintendent of the Li- 
brary in June, 1897, after the free library had been estab- 
lished by law and preparations to open it to the public were 
well under way. 

The facts and figures in this brief account of the early 
stages of the free library movement, I have gathered from 
the 6ist annual report of the Buffalo Library and from a 
record of the organization of the Buffalo Public Library, 
prepared at the request of the directors by the late James 
Fraser Gluck. 

The position of Buffalo in library matters was entirely 
unique. She was alone among the great cities of the North- 
ern States in having no free tax-supported public library, 
but also alone in having a private library so managed as to 


be of greatest value to the citizens. The Buffalo Library 
gave the free use of its books within its building to all 
coiners ; its annual membership fees were only $3, entitling 
the member to draw two books at a time for home use ; it 
issued 1. 000 free tickets to school children; it had recently 
opened a children's room and in general performed the func- 
tions of a public library to the utmost limit of the means at 
its command. Very nearly half the entire membership of 
the old library was made up of life members, who had con- 
tributed large sums of money to its endowment and support, 
and who had an affection for the institution and an interest 
in its prosperity that were truly remarkable. 

The library derived its income chiefly from the rents of 
the Iroquois Hotel property. The hotel was built in the 
spirit of public enterprise rather than as a profitable invest- 
ment. It yielded a net annual income of only about $22,000 
after paying the interest on the enormous indebtedness in- 
curred for its construction. This property had, under the 
law, been exempt from taxation, and upon the income de- 
rived from it the library relied for its maintenance. During 
the session of 1S95-1896, the Legislature passed a law mak- 
ing all 'property of public institutions from which they de- 
rived a revenue taxable. The working of this law added an 
item of about $17,000 to the expenses of the library, re- 
ducing the net income from its invested funds to about 
$5,000. This grave emergency came frequently under dis- 
cussion during the summer and autumn following but no 
definite action was taken until Dec. 12, 1896, when the board 
of managers submitted to the public through the newspapers 
a statement setting forth in plain terms the critical circum- 
stances of the library and inviting the cooperation of the 
city to make it entirely free to the public with provision for 
adequate support by taxation. 

The suggestion made in this statement received the 
hearty support of press and people. The Merchants' Ex- 
change, the Council of United Trades and Labor Unions, 
the Engineers' Society, the Good Government Clubs, and 
various other public associations passed resolutions com- 
mending it. 


The law committee of the Library, Nathaniel \Y. Nor- 
ton, Gatison Depew and Joseph X. Hunsicker, invited the 
cooperation of the trustees of the Grosvenor Library, Josiah 
Jewett, James Eraser Gluck and Edward H. Butler, and the 
interests of the free circulating- and free reference libraries 
were made one. 

On the 6th of January, 1897, a conference of some of the 
friends of the libraries who had been must active in their 
service in the past years, was called to consider the course of 
action to be pursued. Mr. George Gorham presided at this 
conference, Mr. J. X. Earned acted as secretary, and among 
those who took part were James O. Putnam, Daniel H. 
McMillan, Robert B. Adam, Henry A. Richmond, Ralph 
Plumb, Frank M. Elollister, James Mooney, Howard H. 
Baker, Peter P. Burtis, Henry R. Howland, Henry P. 
Emerson, Worthington C. Miner, Harvey W. Putnam, An- 
drew Langdon, Thomas T. Ramsdell and E. Corning Town- 

The relation of the libraries to the educational interests 
of the city were considered, and after a full discussion a 
committee representing the two libraries was appointed to 
prepare and present to the Common Council a petition ask- 
ing for cooperation in procuring legislation to authorize 
proper measures for the adequate maintenance of the Buf- 
falo Public Library and the Grosvenor Reference Library. 

Xathaniel \Y. X'orton, Daniel H. McMillan, James 
Mooney, James Eraser Gluck, F. C. M. Lautz, E. H. Butler, 
John G. Milburn, Robert B. Adam and G. Frederick Zeller 
were named by the chair as the committee. This committee 
presented a petition to the Common Council, to which that 
body responded favorably by appointing committees of three 
from each house to act with the above-named committee 
from the libraries, and with the Mayor, the Superintendent 
of Education and the City Clerk. In these committees the 
Common Council was represented by Aldermen Maischoss, 
Boechel and Summers and Councilmen Ash, Byrne and Zipp. 
The first meeting of the joint committee was held Jan. 14, 
1897. The discussion showed entire harmony between the 
representatives of the city government and the representa- 


tives of the libraries. A sub-committee was appointed to 
draft an act to embody the required legislation, together 
with an explanatory statement of facts and with estimates of 
required expenditure for proper maintenance of the Buffalo 
and Grosvenor libraries on the footing of freedom and edu- 
cational efficiency. 

On Jan. 16th Mr. Norton from the sub-committee sub- 
mitted to the joint committee the draft of an act to be prt 
sented to the Common Council for its approval and for 
recommendation to the State Legislature. The draft of the 
proposed act was approved by the joint committee and was 
presented to the Board of Aldermen, Jan. 18th, accompanied 
by a detailed report, stating : 

First. The existing circumstances of the Buffalo Library. 

Second. The need of a free public library as a part of the 
system of common public education. 

Third. The nature and extent of the freedom with which 
a free library can loan books to the residents of the city. 

Fourth. The methods employed in free library systems 
for placing books easily at the command of people through- 
out the city. 

Fifth. The probable cost for yearly maintenance of the 
free library for Buffalo. 

The report of the committee was adopted by the Board 
of Aldermen Jan. iSth, and by the Board of Councilmen, 
Jan. 20th, and was approved by the Mayor on the same day. 

The recommended bill was introduced in both houses of 
the Legislature without delay. It passed the Assembly Feb. 
3d ; the Senate Feb. 4th ; received approval of the Mayor 
Feb. 10th, and was signed by the Governor of the State 
Feb. 13th. 

By this act the Buffalo Library is authorized to transfer 
to the city of Buffalo, in trust for the use and benefit of its 
citizens, books and pamphlets belonging' to the library, under 
conditions to be agreed upon by contract. The city of Buf- 
falo is authorized to accept the books and pamphlets in trust 
under contract. The life members of the Buffalo Library 
are constituted a corporation with the power of perpetual 



succession, to have sole control of the real estate and prop- 
erty of the Buffalo Library. The life members are instructed 
to annually elect a president, vice-president, secretary, treas- 
urer and three managers, who shall constitute the trustees 
of the Buffalo Library. The Common Council is authorized 
to make all necessary appropriations for the maintenance of 
the Grosvenor Library. The Common Council is authorized 
to raise annually, as part of the general tax, a sum of not 
less than three one hundredths of one per centum and not 
more than five one hundredths of one per centum of the total 
taxable assessed valuation of the property of the city of Buf- 
falo, one fifth of the said amount to be paid to the trustees 
of the Grosvenor Library and four fifths to the trustees of 
the Public Library. 

The contract between the Buffalo Library and the city 
of Buffalo, was drawn in accordance with the terms of the 
enabling act by a committee representing the Board of 
Aldermen, the Board of Councilmen and the Buffalo Li- 
brary. The contract is dated Feb. 24, 1897, was approved 
by the Board of Aldermen, the Board of Councilmen and 
executed by the Mayor and the president and secretary of 
the Buffalo Library. The principal points of the contract 
are : 

First The Buffalo Library conveys to the city of Buffalo its 
books and pamphlets in trust for a period of 99 years, together with 
the net annual income from the library's property. 

Second, 'idle city of Buffalo accepts the trust and agrees to 
maintain the free public library, and annually to appropriate for its 
maintenance a sum of not less than four fifths of three one hun- 
dredths of (lie jkt centum of the total taxable assessed valuation of 
the property of the city of Buffalo. 

Third. The name shall be The Buffalo Public Library. 

Fourth. The control and management of the Buffalo Public 
Library and all moneys appropriated for it by the city shall be vested 
in a board of 10 directors, -to consist of the president, vice-president 
and three managers of the Buffalo Library; the Mayor, the Cor- 
poration Counsel, the Superintendent of Education ; two citizens, not 
life members of the Buffalo Library, t<> be appointed by the Mayor 
for a term of five vears each. 


Fifth. The beard of directors shall have full control of the 
library and its funds, but shall contract no indebtedness in excess of 
the annual income. 

Sixth. The library shall be free to the residents of the city sub- 
ject to the rules adopted by the directors and shall be open not less 
than 10 hours on Sundays and holidays, and not less than 12 hours 
on all other days. 

Seventh. The net income of the Buffalo Library shall be paid to 
the Buffalo Public Library quarterly. 

Eighth. The appropriations of the city shall be paid to the 
Public Library quarterly. 

Ninth. The board of directors shall make an annual report to 
the Common Council on or before the first Monday in February in 
each year, for the year ending Dec. 31st previous thereto. 

Tenth. The officers shall consist of a president, vice-president 
and executive committee of three members. Seven directors shall be 
necessary for a quorum. 

Eleventh. At the expiration of the term the agreement may be 
renewed at the option of the city, or a new agreement entered into. 

Twelfth. Certified copies of the agreement to be filed in the 
Erie County Clerk's office, City Clerk's office, and with the records of 
the Buffalo Library. 

The contract was approved by life members of the Buf- 
falo Library Feb. 25, 1897. On the 9th of March, 1897, an 
election of president, vice-president and three managers, re- 
sulted in the unanimous choice of Nathaniel W. Norton as 
president, George L. Williams as vice-president and Joseph 
P. Dudley, James FYaser Gluck and Charles R. Wilson as 

March 15th the number of the first board of directors 
was completed by the appointment of two citizens of Buf- 
falo, not life members of the Buffalo Library, viz. : John 
D. Bogardus for the term of five years and Mathias Rohr 
for the term of three years. 

The change from a proprietary to a free public library 
involved an entire change in administrative system. Mr. 
Walter L. Brown, the present assistant superintendent, was 
sent on a tour of inspection to see the best and most ad- 
vanced library methods in actual operation. Mr. Brown 


made a full and clear report to the directors, and the system 
afterward adopted was the simplest possible. Experience in 
its use has proved it accurate, rapid, and well adapted to 
keeping track of the hooks and furnishing a proper record of 
the use of the library. 

Equally important with the change of administrative 
system was the change necessary to prepare the building for 
the increased patronage of a free library. Built more than 
10 years ago. for the us-e of a limited constituency of paying 
members, it needed many alterations to adapt it to the free 
use of all the inhabitants of a great city. These were satis- 
factorily made. 

In April, 1897. Mr. J. X. Larned, for many years super- 
intendent of the Buffalo Library, resigned, and in June the 
board appointed the present superintendent, who assumed 
the duties of the office June 15, 1897. The register of bor- 
rowers was opened immediately after the signing of the con- 
tract with the city. During the summer the names came in 
slowly, and it was not until just before the opening of the 
library that the rush of applicants for tickets commenced. 
While the change of system was being made and repairs go- 
ing on, the library was kept open for the benefit of the mem- 
bers of the Buffalo Library, who had paid for the privilege 
of drawing books. It was not until July 28th that the altera- 
tions in the delivery room compelled the lending department 
to close. After being closed for a month, the library was 
opened as a free public library, Sept. 2, 1897. On the after- 
noon and evening of Aug. 31st, a reception was given to the 
life members of the Buffalo Library. A public meeting was 
held on the evening of Sept. 1st, when the library was for- 
mally turned over to the city by Mr. Xathaniel W. Norton, 
president of the Buffalo Library, Edgar B. Jewett, Mayor of 
Buffalo, representing the city, and the board of directors of 
the Buffalo Public Library, accepting the trust. An address 
was made by Dr. John Shaw Billings, librarian of the Xew 
York Public Library, Astor. Lenox and Tilden foundations, 
and the various departments of the library were described 
in a short speech by the superintendent. 


Note. — The growth and the popularity of the Buffalo Public Library, as shown 
by the latest statistics, fully justify the hope of those interested in its organization. 

The number of bound volumes in the library on July r, 1902, was 182,600. 1 hir- 
ing the year from July i, tool, to July 1. 1002, [,024,049 books were circulated. Be- 
tween September, 1901, and June, 190.'— the school year — 207,205 volumes were loaned 
from the grade libraries in the public schools. 

At present the agencies for the distribution of books outside of the main library 
are the William Ives Branch at Xo. 746 Broadway, from which many Polish am! 
German books are sent ; depositories at Westminster House, Xo. 424 Adams Street, 
and Welcome Hall, Xo. 404 Seneca Street, which are open one or two days each 
week; eight delivery stations, where calls are made for orders and books delivered 
each day ; 532 separate class room libraries in 33 public schools ; the High schools, 
where library attendants are present each school day, and the traveling libraries 
which are placed in the fire houses, police stations, staff room of the hospitals, fac- 
tories, rooms of clubs and societies, schools not regularly supplied by the librarv v 
and home library clubs. 



esioent, Buffalo Historical Society. 




Compiled p,y the Secretary. 

At the annual meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society, 
held January 10, 1S99, the secretary related the following 
incident : 

Some years ago I was making a Sunday drive around Grand 
Island with the Hon. Lewis F. Allen, when he said to me: "Did 
you ever hear how the Historical Society was started?"' 

Mr. Allen and I used to make very pleasant excursions together. 
Though more than half a century lay between us. in age, we had a 
common' interest in the history of die Niagara frontier — that history 
which he knew so well ; so large a part of which he was. 

''Tell me of it." I said. 

"I was coming up Court Street one day.'' he continued, '"when I 
met Orsamus H. Marshall. I knew him well — knew that he was one 
of the few men in Buffalo who gave any thought to the preservation 
of the records or relics of our history. Marshall, you know, was a 
scholar. Put him on to anything relating to our Indians, and off he'd 
go as long as he could follow the trail. He spoke of something that 
he wanted to get. or that had been destroyed, I don't remember now 
just what. 

"'Marshall,' I said, 'we ought to do something about these 
things. Somebody should take care of them." 

386 THE Mill' HOME OF 

"It was a raw, windy day early in the Spring, along in March, 
1862. He said. 'Come up in my office and we'll talk it over.' 

"The result of that talk was that we got a few others interested 
and published a call for another meeting, to be held at Mr. Marshall's 
office. The rest of it," said Mr. Allen, "is matter of record. We 
named a committee to draw up a constitution and by-laws, which 
were submitted to a meeting of citizens held in the rooms of the old 
Medical Association on South Division Street. Millard Fillmore 
was made chairman of that meeting, and a little later, at our first 
election, he was chosen the first president of the Society." 

The society's records show that the first meeting at which Mr. 
Fillmore presided was held on April 15, 1862. Mr. Allen was chair- 
man of the earlier meeting, held at Mr. Marshall's office, and was the 
first vice-president of the society. 

The foregoing- incident may perhaps stand as a preface 
to the entirely adequate sketch of the origin and progress 
during its earlier years of the Buffalo Historical Society, 
written in 1873 by Oliver G. Steele, and published in the 
first volume of the society's Publications. That sketch tells 
of the awakening of interest on the part of many of the 
older citizens, in matters pertaining to the history of Buffalo 
and Western New York ; and of the organization of the so- 
ciety, the first election of officers being held on the first 
Tuesday in May, Hon. Millard Fillmore being chosen presi- 
dent and Flon. Lewis F. Allen chosen vice-president. Oddly 
enough — when we note his zeal in the formation of the so- 
ciety — Mr. Allen was never its president, though he con- 
tinued devoted to its welfare throughout his long life.* Mr. 
Steele has related how, at the suggestion of Mr. Fillmore, 
50 gentlemen bound themselves to pay $20 each per year for 
five years, as a maintenance fund for the society. This plan 
was later modified by the creation of a life-membership class, 
the payment therefor being $50, increased in 1897 to $100. 

F'or some time after its organization in 1862, the society 
had no home. Its record books and first collections — the 
nucleus of its present museum — were deposited in the office 
of Hon. William Dorsheimer, Xo. 7 Court Street, and there 
too. its early meetings were held. From 1805 until January, 

•Lewis F. Allen died May 2, 1890, in his 91st year. 


1873, the society occupied rooms, rent free, in the Young 
Men's Association building, southeast corner of Main and 
Eagle streets. That building was far from fire-proof: but 
the new building of the Western Savings Bank, northwest 
corner of Main and Court streets, constructed in iSji-'j, 
did appear to offer the security which the society sought for 
its possessions. The annual income of the society at that 
time was between $500 and $600, not enough to pay the 
salary of the secretary, and it is not strange that there was 
hesitancy about moving to quarters for which a considerable 
rent must be paid. The matter was placed in the hands of 
Orlando Allen, ( )rsamus IT. Marshall and Gibson T. 
Williams; and this committee reported. Dec. 10, 1872, that 
the Young Men's Association, in consideration of the sur- 
render of the Historical Society lease, would pay to it $1600 
in four years, in quarterly instalments. The Historical So- 
ciety accepted the terms, named Orlando Allen, James Shel- 
don and Alonzo Richmond, a committee to circulate sub- 
scription papers, hoping that a sufficient fund might be guar- 
anteed to warrant leasing the rooms in the Western Savings 
Bank building: and in January, 1873, feeling warranted in 
assuming the expense, moved to its new quarters. 

Here the society's home continued to be until January. 
1887, when it took possession of the more ample rooms— 
though again on the third floor, reached only for many years 
by wearying stairs — in the new building of the Young Men's 
Association, now Buffalo Library building; from which it 
migrated in April, [902, to take possession for the tirst time 
in its history, and just 40 years after its organization, of "a 
home of its own." 

For many interesting particulars regarding the early 
years of the society — its accumulation of books and relics, 
almost wholly by gift; its delightful club meetings, for 
which many a valuable chronicle of the earlier days was pre- 
pared; its slow accumulation of a permanent fund: and the 
changes which as the years passed brought in turn many a 
representative citizen to the head of the society ; for these 
and related data the reader may properly be referred to the 
volume already cited. The object of the present notes is to 


deal more particularly with the later history of the society, 
and especially to tell the story of its new building. 

A word of appreciation may, however, fittingly be writ- 
ten of the men who, through many years of cramped re- 
sources and the indifference of a large part of the com- 
munity, kept the society not only alive but progressive. The 
decade following the Civil War was not a propitious period 
for such an institution. There were times — not altogether 
remote, even now — when very few men kept up the or- 
ganization and carried on a work in which they would gladly 
have had the cooperation of very many of their fellow- 
citizens. In this category of the faithful were Hon. James 
Sheldon, William Clement Bryant, Capt. E. P. Dorr, Hon. 
William P. Letchworth, William H. H. Newman, Hon. 
Elias S. Hawley. Hon. James M. Smith, William Hodge. 
William Dana Fobes, Emmor Haines, James Tillinghast, 
William K. Allen, George S. Hazard, Dr. Joseph C. Greene, 
Julius H. Dawes, and others, their associates in the manage- 
ment of the society's affairs for the last quarter of the nine- 
teenth century. After the death of Millard Fillmore and 
others who had shared in the founding of the society, its 
interests suffered a decline for a period. A more vigorous era 
was begun under the presidency of William D. Fobes in 
1884, who, in the words of the annual report made in Janu- 
ary, 1885, retired from office "leaving the society 20 per 
cent, better than he found it, such have been the accessions 
made in the interval to the valuable archives of the society." 
It was during Mr. Fobes's presidency that the Fillmore fam- 
ily library, through the settlement of the contest of the will 
of Mrs. Caroline C. Fillmore, passed into the possession of 
the society. The arrangement which was made in April, 
1884, with the Young Men's Association for free occupancy 
of the third floor of its projected building, was a great finan- 
cial help. Prior to its removal to what is now the Library 
building., the society had been paying, since 1873, S400 a 
year rent for its quarters in the Western Savings Bank 

The board meeting of Jan. 4, 1887. was the first which 
the societv held in the new Young Men's Association (now 


Public Library) building, which was to be its home for 15 
years. It was at this meeting that Judge Sheldon, then com- 
pleting his last term as president, proposed the name of An- 
drew Langdon for life membership. Mr. Langdon was duly 
elected, and at the annual meeting held on Jan. nth, was 
chosen one of the board of councillors (now called board of 
managers). In 1894 Mr. Langdon was elected president, 
and he has been reelected to that office — more than once in 
opposition to his expressed wish — every year since. Mr. 
Langdon's presidency marks a distinct era in the fortunes of. 
the society. From the first he took an active interest in its 
affairs, and worked with untiring zeal to promote its pros- 
perity. Its need of a building of its own was early apparent 
to him. as indeed it long had been to others ; but none other 
was so constant in the effort to find a way — or if none could 
be found, to make a way — towards the desired consumma- 
tion. These notes are not the place to detail the many plans, 
the many consultations and conferences and projects which 
came to naught. If they were dropped it was only because 
something more promising was hit upon ; but it is fitting to 
put on record a word of appreciation for Mr. Langdon's 
persistent and undiscouraged efforts to put the society on a 
securer financial basis than it had ever known, and thereby to 
open theway for its legitimate work on broader and more 
effective lines. In his efforts, he was ably helped by others, 
who shall be duly named. 

The building idea was an old one, and had had many 
forms even before Mr. Langdon's day. In his address on 
retiring from the presidency in 1883, William Hodge offered 
as "a suggestion": "Would it not be pleasing to many to 
perpetuate the memory of relatives and friends . . . by 
giving some amount towards our building fund, or better still 
to purchase or erect a suitable building for the Buffalo His- 
torical Society. Such noble deeds,'' he added, "have often 
been done." He had long thought, he said, that the old 
Waldon homestead, at Main, Edward and Franklin streets, 
was a suitable house for the Historical and other societies of 
•the city. "The location may be considered by some to be too 
far up town, but to me it certainly seems not." How great 


would have been his wonder could he have been told that 
the society's first building of its own — and a marble palace 
at that — would be beyond the far Scajaquada! 

This suggestion bore no fruit; nor was there any tan- 
gible building fund until on March 4, 1894, Judge James M. 
Smith (who had been the society's president in 1881 and 
never lost his interest in its welfare) gave to it five bonds of 
the Crosstowu Street Railroad, Xos. 19-23, valued at 85,000. 
"as a nucleus for a building fund." This was a profit- earn- 
ing property. To it was added $3,000 received by bequest 
from Mrs. C. L. Fobes. on Oct. 6, 1898. These sums, with 
accrued interest, amounted to $11,064.39 on May 1, 1899, 
when the account was closed. Prior to this time the society 
had beirun to direct its efforts in a new channel. 


At the session of the Legislature of 1897, Hon. Henry 
W. Hill, Member- of Assembly from the Second District of 
Erie County, and one of the councillors of the Historical So- 
ciety, introduced in the Assembly two bills providing for the 
construction of an Historical Society building on Park lands 
in the city of Buffalo, both of which were enacted into law. 

The first of these is Chapter 239 of the Laws of 1897, and 
authorizes the investment of the Historical Society trust 
funds in the purchase of the site and the erection of the 
building for the uses of the Buffalo Plistorical Society. 

The second of Lhese acts is Chapter 310 of the Laws of 
1897, which authorized the construction of an Historical 
Society building on Park lands in the city of Buffalo, and 
which also provided that the city of Buffalo might appro- 
priate S25.000, towards the construction of such a building, 
and should annually thereafter make an appropriation for its 
lighting and heating, and also a sum of not less than $5,000 
for its care and maintenance and for the care, maintenance 
and preservation of the historical and scientific collections* 
books, papers and properties of the society in said building; 


the act further provided that the mayor, the comptroller, the 
corporation counsel, superintendent of education, the presi- 
* dent of the Common Council, and the president of the Board 

of Park Commissioners should be ex officio managers of said 
Historical Society in addition to the managers elected from 
the membership of the society. 

By Chapter 728 of the Laws of 1897, which was 
superceded and repealed by Chapter 65 of the Laws of 1898 
(owing to a clerical error in Chapter 72S of the Laws of 
1897), the city of Buffalo was authorized to issue its bonds, 
among' other things to raise funds to the extent of $25,000, 
to be used in the erection of an Historical Society building. 

Anticipating construction under this law, the society took 
steps for legislation to permit the use of moneys of its per- 
manent fund, which at this time amounted to $36,173, as 
a building fund ; and a committee, consisting of J. X. Adam, 
George H. Lewis, Hon. James M. Smith, Dr. Jos. C. Greene 
and President Langdon, was appointed to confer with a 
committee of the Board of Aldermen, or of the Board of 
Park Commissioners, or of both bodies, regarding further 
legislation. Inspection of park sites followed. The Board 
of Managers of the society were unanimous in expressing 
their preference for the site then known as the Concourse, 
now occupied by the Albright Art Gallery. The Board of 
Park Commissioners were divided, six approving, six dis- 
senting. Mr. Bronson C. Rumsey, not favoring that choice, 
offered to give to the society a site for its building on land 
f owned by him, adjoining the south line of the Park, on the 

east side of Elm wood Avenue. This offer the Board voted 
not to accept, the decision being reached at one of the Board's 
"open-air meetings" at Delaware Park, May 8, 1897. The 
Beard informed Mr. Kumsey that it did approve of a site on 
his lands fronting on Lincoln Parkway:; but this site the 
owner did nor offer to the society. 

Much public interest had been aroused by the legislation 
above indicated, and by the efforts to agree upon a site. 
There were those who held that the society was ungrateful 
to refuse the free site which had been offered it on Elmwood 
Avenue. Others contended against any removal to park 


lands;* but the active workers in the society's behalf con- 
tinued practically unanimous in their view and steadfast in 
their purpose. The sentiment of the society at this time is 
embodied in the following paragraph which was written by 
Judge Smith, appended to a resolution offered by Mr. 
George A. Stringer, declaring the Concourse to be the so- 
cietv's choice, and adopted, May 27, 1897: 

1 he law enacted by the Legislature commits the selection of the 

particular site for the building of the Historical Society to two bodies 
of our citizens, the Board of Park Commissioners being one body 
and the trustees (managers) of the Historical Society the other. 
These two bodies are to select the site by agreement and to per- 
petuate their agreement by writing. The trustees of the Historical 
Society are 20 and are unanimously in favor of the site at the Con- 
course. Of the Park Board only six have manifested any opposition 
to the site at the Concourse. The Historical Society respectfully 
submits that the views of 26 of our citizens, charged by the law with 
their public duty, should prevail over the opinion of six others, and 
that equity, justice and duty require that the minority yield to the 
very strong majority. 

The society had had preliminary building plans prepared, 
and had entertained hopes of going on with the work under 
the acts of 1897, but the division in the Park Board arrested 
progress. The way to a consummation of its project con- 
tinued dubious and uncertain until, in the spring of 1898, a 
new opportunity most happily was found. On March 14. 
1898, Hon. Henry \V. Hill, then Member of Assembly, in- 
troduced the following concurrent resolution, which was 
unanimously adopted : 

Whereas, Certain prominent substantial and reputable citizens of 
the cities of New York. Buffalo and Niagara Falls have under the 
title of the Pan-American Exposition Company, become duly incor- 
porated under the laws of the State and formed an organization for 
the purpose of promoting" and conducting an exposition to illustrate 
the material progress of the Xew World during the nineteenth cen- 

* In September of this year ('97) a formal protest against the removal of the 
society's collections to a building in the I'ark was sent to the society, signed by 

sundry citizens. 


tury, to lie held at some suitable location on the Niagara; 

Whereas. Such exposition is to be held within the borders of the 
State of New York during the summer of 1899; and 

Whereas. No exposition on a large scale of a similar character 
as that proposed has ever yet been held in this State; be it 

Resolved, That the Legislature (the Senate concurring) hereby 
respectfully urges the President and Congress of the United States 
to recognize in an appropriate official manner the said Pan-American 
Exposition and to extend to it such substantial aid as may be deemed 
fitting and proper; and further 

Resoh'cd, That this Legislature (the Senate concurring) re- 
spectfully requests the Senators and Members of the House of Repre- 
sentatives from the State of New York to aid in the immediate pas- 
sage by Congress of favorable legislation in behalf of such Pan- 
American Exposition. 

This resolution, en motion of Senator George A. Davis, 
was concurred in by the Senate on March 15, 1898, and 
transmitted to the Congress of the United States. On March 
28, 1S9S, Mr. Hill introduced in the Assembly the following 
resolution, which was also adopted, viz. : 

Whereas, At the present session of the Legislature a resolution 
Avas adopted urging the President and Congress of the United States 
to recognize in an appropriate official manner the Pan-American Ex- 
position, which was to have been held on the Niagara Frontier in the 
year 1899, and to extend to it such substantial aid as might be 
deemed fitting and proper; and also requesting the United States 
Senators and Members of the House of Representatives from the 
State of New York to aid in the passage by Congress of favorable 
legislation in behalf of such Pan-American Exposition: and 

Whereas, The present unsettled condition of national affairs, on 
account of the possibilities of war with Spain, renders it expedient 
to postpone the date of holding such Exposition until the year 1901 ; 
therefore, be it 

Resolved (if the Senate concur), That the President and Con- 
gress of the United States take the same action in regard to such 
Pan-American Exposition to be held in the year 1901 as heretofore 
urged for the year 1899; and be it further 

Resolved (if the Senate concur), That the Senators and Mem- 
bers of the House of Representatives from the State of New York. 
be and are hereby requested to extend the same aid in securing fa- 


vorable legislation in behalf of .such Pan-American Exposition to be 
held in the year 1901 as was heretofore requested for the year 1899. 

This resolution was concurred in by the Senate on March 
30, 1898, and returned to the Assembly and also transmitted 
to Congress, and favorably acted upon by that body, which 
gave to the Pan-American Exposition congressional ap- 
proval a considerable time before the citizens of Detroit ap- 
plied to Congress for an appropriation for a projected ex- 
position in that city, and thereby settled the matter of Federal 
appropriation in favor of the Pan-American Exposition on 
the Niagara Frontier, 

The original act, Chapter 36 of the Laws of 1899, making 
an appropriation on the part of New York for an exhibit at 
the Pan-American Exposition, provided the sum of $50,000 
for a building, which would have been a temporary struc- 
ture, to be demolished at the close of the exposition. At the 
close of the legislative session of 1899, Mr. Hill, at a Board 
meeting of the Managers of the Buffalo Historical Society, 
stated the substance of the various legislative acts, thereto- 
fore enacted, looking toward the erection of an Historical 
Society building on park lands, and presented a plan for the 
aggregation of the funds of the city of Buffalo and those of 
the Buffalo Historical Society, and the moneys to be ex- 
pended by the State in the erection of a Pan-American build- 
ing whereby a permanent fire-proof building might be 
erected on park lands, contiguous to other Pan-American 
buildings, which would be suitable for the use of the State of 
Xew York at the Pan-American Exposition, and which 
might thereafter become the permanent home of the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 

Mr. Hill offered a resolution to that effect and providing 
for the appointment of a committee from the Board of Man- 
agers of the Buffalo Historical Society to confer with the 
Directors of the Pan-American Exposition Company, and 
with the Managers of the State exhibit at the Pan-American 
Exposition, with the view of securing their approval of such 
plan and their cooperation in its execution. 

This resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board 
of Managers of the Buffalo Historical Society on the 1st day 


of June. 1899, and the president appointed as such committee 

on the part of the Buffalo Historical Society, Henry W. Hill, 
i chairman; Charles \Y. Goodyear, Hon. Wilson S. Bissell, 

G. Barrett Rich and Frank H. Severance, of which com- 
mittee President Langdon was a member cx-nfficio. 

The committee at once presented the plan to the Directors 
of the Pan-American Exposition Company and to members 
of the Board of General Managers of the Exposition of the 
State of Xew York at the Pan- American Exposition, ap- 
pointed by Governor Roosevelt and confirmed by the Senate 
on the 21 st day of April, 1899. 1 ne board consisted of Hon. 
Daniel X. Lockwood, chairman, and Messrs. Jacob Amos, 
Gaines C. Bolin, Nicholas Y. Y. Franchot, William H. 
Gelshenen, Fred Greiner, John T. Mott, Leopold Stern and 
George E. Yost. The committee on the part of the Buffalo 
Historical Society pointed out that portion of the Delaware 
Park on the north side of the Xorth Bay of the Park Lake 
near Elmwood Avenue as a suitable location for an His- 
torical Society building, which would also be accessible and 
a convenient site for the Xew York State building at the 
Pan-American Exposition, as it was immediately south of 
the proposed location of other buildings to be erected on the 
Pan-American grounds. Such location, however, would 
necessitate some modification in the plans of the Pan-Ameri- 
can Exposition Company for the location of some of the ex- 
position buildings, and it became necessary to submit the 
matter to the Board of Architects, who were in charge of the 
location and plans of the Pan-American buildings. After 
due consideration, they approved of the location of the Xew 
York State building as proposed by the committee of the 
Historical Society. 

The plan was fully presented to the managers of the State 
exhibit at a meeting held in Buffalo in December, 1899. 
They visited the grounds and inspected the site, and gave 
their approval of the proposed location as well as of the plan 
for the erection of the Xew York State building to be used 
at the Pan-American Exposition. Thereupon Mr. Hill pre- 
pared a bill to enable the Xew York State board to expend 
$100,000 toward the erection of a building out of the 


$300,000 appropriated by the State for its use at the exposi- 
tion, and also providing- for uniting- therewith and adding 
thereto the $25,000 to be expended by the city of Buffalo 
and the money to be expended by the Buffalo Historical So- 
ciety toward the erection of an Historical Society building 
on park lands ; and also providing that such building should 
be a fire-proof and permanent structure, and at the close of 
the exposition should become the property of the Buffalo 
Historical Society for its use and the preservation of its his- 
torical properties. 

This bill was approved by the managers of the State ex- 
hibit and introduced on Jan. 15, 1900, by Mr. Hill in the 
Assembly. It passed that body on Jan. 30th, but was 
amended in the Senate, and thereafter passed the Senate, 
which amendments were concurred in by the Assembly. It 
was then sent to Buffalo, and after due notice was approved 
by Hon. Conrad Diehl, 'Mayor, and returned to Albany and 
approved by Governor Roosevelt on March 26, 1900, and 
became Chapter 230 of the Laws of 1900, which amended 
Chapter 36 of the Laws of 1899, the original Appropriation 
Act of the State of Xew York of $300,000 for its use at the 
Pan-American Exposition. It was under this law that the 
New York State building was erected. There were several 
conferences between the managers of the exhibit on the part 
of the State of Xew York, and the building committee on 
the part of the Buffalo Historical Society, on the question of 
plans and specifications, material to be used in construction, 
etc. ; and conferences with the Board of Park Commission- 
ers as to the location. Fortunately there prevailed a dispo- 
sition on the part of the conferees to carry out the purposes 
of the law and to secure a building which would be eminently 
serviceable during the Pan-American Exposition, and well 
adapted for general historical purposes thereafter. * 

* The story of the building from the time of its erection until it was for- 
mally turned over to the Historical Society belongs properly to the history of 
the Pan-American Exposition, and will no doubt be included in the narrative of 
that undertaking, now in preparation by the Director General, the Hon. William 
I. Buchanan. The report oi the board of managers for New York State at the 
exposition, when published will probably contain suitable mention of the uses 
to which it was put as the Xosv York State building. As matter of record, 


mi&&^^i*%^**^*m^^^i>4rmi l rr, A fc» M**-itk lyift J j^w. w.w .l^rti 



By George Gary, 

Its Architect. 

At one of the meetings of the Boaru of Architects in 
Boston, Mr. Hems, the State Architect, conversed with me 
on the State building, for which he was preparing plans. "If 
only we could get the State to make its building a permanent 
one. that could be used afterwards for the Buffalo Historical 
Society!" was my expression. This same idea occurred to 
others, and Air. Hill, our representative at Albany, is the 

however, it is well to note here the more important events which occurred 
within the walls of what is now the home of the Buffalo Historical Society, dur- 
ing the period of the Pan-American Exposition. 

The first announced gathering held at the completed building appears to 
have been a convention of coal dealers, on June 12, 1901. On July 5th the 
edifice was informally opened to the public, without ceremony. During the 
remainder of the exposition period, it was daily visited by thousands. It con- 
tained a collection of paintings, some miscellaneous objects of historical or 
curious interest, and the "'special art grand" piano exhibited by the Messrs. 
Steinway & Sons of New York. This instrument, at the close of the exposition, 
was given by the makers to the Historical Society, and now stands in the 
central hall, one of the society's most notable possessions. It is of the highest 
quality of excellence as a musical instrument, anu in its construction is excep- 
tionally artistic. The case is of mahogany, carved in classic style, with bronze 
mountings, and bronze electric light fixtures. On the top cover, inlaid and 
hand-painted, are the arms of the State of New York. The money value of the 
instrument is stated as $.2,500. Under the touch of skillful players it con- 
tributed greatly to the enjoyment of many of the gatherings in the building 
during the exposition. 

On July 5th the New York State Teachers Association was received at the 
building by the Hon. Charles R. Skinner, State Superintendent of Public In- 
struction. On July 23d members of the Catholic Mutual P>enefit Association at- 
tended a reception there; a banquet was given in honor of Governor Odell, by 
the New York State Commissioners, July 25th; and on Aug. 2d the Pan- 
American Press Club used the building for a reception. The building was 
formally dedicated to the use of New York State and the Pan-American Expo- 
sition, on Aug. 6th. Succeeding gatherings included the following: Aug. 10th, 
International Association of Milliners; Aug. 14th, a meeting of fire under- 
writers; Aug. 19th, the National Shorthand Reporters Association; Aug. 20th, 
the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, one session of their 18th annual 
convention; Aug. 22d, the New York State Stenographers Association, 26th 
annual convention. On Aug. z?d the building was headquarters for visitors 
from Syracuse, with luncheon served to prominent guests by the Hon. Jacob 
Amos. On Aug. 24th, visitors from the Mohawk Valley held exercises in the 
building, and on Aug. 31st it \sas headquarters for "Shriners." 


man to whom we arc chiefly indebted for the passage of the 

act, which allowed the State building to be given over, after 
the exposition, to the Buffalo Historical Society. 

Owing to the feeling of Mr. Heins, the State architect, 
that this building should not come under the head of State 
work, the committee opened the planning of the building to 
competition. Because of the short time given for presenting 
plans, there were but seven competitors. As the Park Board 
selected one, and the president of the Historical Society an- 
other, the State committee decided to choose as expert, R. W. 
Gibson, president of the Architectural League of Xew York, 
and he chose a third, whose plan was carried out in the build- 
ing as it stands today. 

September 5th was President's Day at the exposition. in this building 
President McKinlcy ami invited guests attended a luncheon given by the New 
York State commissioners. 1 he next day. in the Temple of Music, the 
President received the shot from which he died, Sept. 14th. 

There were three gatherings in the building on Sept. 6th: One of "the 
Mayflower descendants," one of descendants of Pilgrim John Ilowland; and 
the Xew York Heavy Artillery Veterans Association. Succeeding gatherings 
were: Stpt. 10th and 11th, Edison illuminating societies of the United States: rith. National Association of Builders; Sept. eoth, National Wholesale 
Lumbermen's Association (meeting of 50 secretaries); Sept. ^ 5 th, American 
Electro Therapeutic Association, with illustrated lecture by Or. A. W. Bayliss 
of Buffalo, on the use of electricity in general practice; Sept. 27th, luncheon 
by the New York State commissioners to railway passenger agents; Sept. 28th, 
reception to the Hon. Chauncey M. De'pew ("Railroad Day"); Sept. 30th. Na- 
tional Consumers League: Sept. 30th, exercises incident to "Central America 
Day"; Oct. 5th, American Institute of Architects, 35th annual convention, two 
sessions and luncheon; Oct. 5th, reception to Pan-American commissioners from 
South American countries, Mexico, Canada, and various states of the Union, by 
the commissioners from Peru: < >ct. 9th, "New York Day," luncheon to Gov- 
ernor Odell and party: public reception, and evening dinner to the Governor 
and guests; Oct. I'th, International Sunshine Society. 

< in Tan. 2, 1902, the deed of the building was formally delivered by the 
Hon. Daniel N. Lockwood, chairman of the New York State board, to President 
Lar.gdon of the Historical Society. The Board of Managers of the society held 
th.dr rirst meeting in the new building. Aug. S, 1901, and their last meeting in 
the old rooms of the Public Library building on April 3, 190J. The work of 
alteration and redecoration was soon begun, and on its completion, in Anril, the 
society began to move in. The work of installation continued until July ist. on 
which date the building was again opened to the public. Suitable dedication 
exercises, including the unveiling of the Lincoln statue, are planned to be held 
in the autumn of this year. A full record of them, together with a more 
detailed account of the society's museum, portrait gallery, library, special col- 
lections and other features, than can be prepared for the present volume, will 
appear in the succeeding volume oi the society's Publications. 



The architect had an amusing conversation on the phone 
when he was hrst informed of having been chosen, and a 
Buffalo Express reporter made the following story out of it : 

At a meeting of the committee at Murray Hill Hotel, New York, 
on Saturday, May 5. 1900, R. W. Gibson, after a careful study of the 
plans, decided in favor of Mr. George Cary of Buffalo. The com- 
mitteemen were desirous of having Mr. Cary meet them in New- 
York, to give some added information about his drawings, and Sec- 
retary B. R. Newton was instructed to- telegraph to him to come to 
Xcw York at once. A dispatch elicited the information that he was 
in New York. More telegraphing brought forth his address, and 
then search for Mr. Can' began. Early in the afternoon, much to the 
surprise of both, Mr. Cary and Mr. Newton were in telephonic com- 
munication, and this is about the way the dialogue ran : 

"This is Mr. Cary?" 

"Yes. it is. Who is this? I have been pestered all day. Now 
what do you want ?'' 

"Well, this is the Secretary of the State Pan-American Board. 
We want to see you down here in an hour without fail." 

"Why — ah — what is wanted?" 

"You're it ; that's all." 

"I'm it! (With worried inflection.) I don't exactly get your 

"Well, be here in an hour, at the Murray Hill, and I'll ex- 
plain it." 

There was a pause, during which, it is related, Mr. Cary's face 
assumed an expression of profound anxiety and perplexity. 

"I can't do it," said he at length. "I'm at a weddinrr, am usher, 
and the ceremony will begin in five minutes. Explain what you 
mean by 'it,' will you. please?'' 

"To be brief." replied Secretary Newton, "your plans for a State 
building have been accepted." 

"Oh-h-h (with full swing), that's it?" 

"Yes, that's it !" 

In an hour Mr. Cary was at the Murray Hill Motel. Whether 
the wedding ceremony was cut short or whether he shirked his 
duties, he did not explain. Other things interested him. He had 
been pitted against several firms of renown and had won. 


At the first meeting the architect was called to attend, 
one of the committeemen, eying- him with suspicion, re- 
marked: "Well, I hear you have no political friends, and 
you have pulled no wires to get this job. I know a thing or 
two about horses and cows, as I am a farmer down East, 
but I ain't nothing on architecture. Do you know Mr. 
Gibson ?" 

"We have met, but perhaps he would not recall me." 
"Then he ain't no friend of yours ? Well, I am glad you 
got the job, for it will take it out of politics." 

Thanks to the State committee, especially to Messrs. 
Lockwood, Greiner and Franchot, and the Buffalo Historical 
Society for making an additional appropriation, we have the 
building as it stands today. 

The building is of white Vermont marble, in the classic 
order of architecture known as the Greek Doric, being of the 
same order as the Parthenon at Athens, by Pericles.* This 
would seem best to harmonize with the Albright Art Gallery 
on the opposite side of the Park Lake, designed in the spirit 
of the Erechtheum, which stands with the Parthenon on the 
Acropolis. The Greek Doric is suggestive of solidity and 
force, has little carving, and its lines are all curved slightly 
upward. As exhibited in the monuments of the age of 
Pericles at Athens, the Greek Doric combines with solidity 
and force, the most subtle and delicate refinement of outlines 
and proportion that architecture has known. 

Our building is a rectangle about 130 feet by 80 feet, and 
50 feet high. On the north front, during the exposition, was 
the statue "Aspiration," by Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney 
(formerly Gertrude Vanderbilt). The northern facade is 
faced with three-quarter columns, and the entrance is 
through the bronze doors which were the gift of Mr. Andrew 
Langdon, president of the Buffalo Historical Society. The 

*The Parthenon was built by Pericles, but the architects were lctinu< and Cal- 
licrates. a part of the sculptured decorations being ascribed to Phidias. Ictinus de- 
serves the credit which is usually given to I'ericles. That the name of many an 
architect of noble buildings is lost, is a reproach to history. 

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panels in these doors, representing "History" and "Ethnol- 
ogy/' are the work of R. Hinton Perry.* 

On the south of the building, alongside of the marble 
steps leading to the lower path, were, during the exposition, 
Andersen's equestrian groups called "Progress.'' The broad 
marble stairs, 40 feet in width, between two flanking pedes- 
tals, lead up to the southern portico, 61 by 17 feet, embel- 
lished by to Greek Dorie columns. The stairs are one inch 
higher in the middle than at the sides, giving what the 
Greeks used so much, curved instead of straight lines. 

The columns are the same proportion as those of the 
Parthenon, and are made in three blocks of solid marble, 
about three feet six inches in diameter at the base. 

In the center, at the foot of these stairs and the terrace 
landing, during the exposition, was Elwell's statue "Intelli- 
gence," a female figure sitting on a throne. A ball in the left 
hand represented the divine and perfect law out of which 
crude man came. In order to receive this perfect divine law 
of intelligence, man must crucify himself, therefore the 
crucifix. An open book on the lap of the statue represents 
natural intelligence amons: men. The feet of the goddess In- 

* These beautiful bronze doors, one of the .most notable features of the 
building, merit a further word. The subjects and style of execution were long 
under consideration by President Langdon, and the leading sculptors of 
America were consulted. The design was made by J. Woodley Gosling, de- 
signer for the Henry Bonnard Bronze Company of New York, who worked it 
out from the sketches and suggestions by Mr. Langdon. The sculptor was 
R. Hinton Perry and the plaster cast was made by Ellison, Kitson & Co. of New- 
York. The bronze was cast by the Henry Bonnard I'ronze Company and. in- 
cluding the transom, weighs 3,900 pounds. The work is twelve feet six inches 
high and six feet three inches wide. Each door, or gate, weighs 1.200 pounds. 
The panel of the right-hand gate is decorated with a female figure emblematic 
of Ethnology. In her hands are gracefully held a skull and Indian implements 
of peace and warfare. The opposite panel contains a female figure representing 
History. One hand has pushed back a veil and shades her eyes while she peers 
into the future. A lamp in her right hand is emblematic also of History's 
searching into the dark places of the past for knowledge. The figures are 
beautifully molded and constitute the chief charm of the work. Beneath each 
figure is the inscription: "These dates the Gift of Andrew Langdon to the 
Buffalo Historical Society. A. D., M. C. M." Above the doors, in a bronze 
transom of classic Greek design, is set the seal of the society. It is supported 
on one side by a reclining figure emblematic of Science, and on the other by 
a similar figure, carrying a palette and brush, representing Art. Science bears 
a globe in her hand. The work as a whole is of a high order .>f merit. 


telligence rest on a stool with swine's feet, representing the 

lowest form of natural intelligence.* 

The building is located on sloping land on the axis of a 
semi-circle, in the northwest corner of the park, adjacent to 
Elmwood Avenue, and is best seen from the park bridge. 
Advantage is taken of the sloping ground to make a bicycle 
entrance to the basement, under the portico stair, at grade 
level. There are likewise entrances at ground level from 
the eastern and western terraces directly into the basement 
statuary hall, while to the north the entrance is up a flight of 
steps to the first floor, leading into the lobby which gives ac- 
cess to what was used, during the exposition, as the Gov- 
ernor's room at the east end ; a committee-room at the west 
end, to cloak-rooms or offices and toilet-rooms to the north ; 
as well as entrances to all other rooms to the south. t 

Back or south of the lobby, or between the audience hall 
to the west, and the library to the east, is the grand hall, 
opening out on the southern porch. The hall of statues is 
under this, and the dining-room is under the library. The 
rooms of the first* floor are 15 feet high, and the audience 
hall seats 250 persons. 

The grand hall has a black marble Moor, wainscoting, col- 
umns and door trim of the same material, and the decoration 
for the exposition period was gold and royal purple. It is 
the largest room in the building, opening up into the upper 

The second floor runs up into the roof, making the rooms 
18 feet high. It is entirely lighted by skylights and is in- 
tended to be used for museum purposes, such as the Cluny 
Museum in Paris. 

On the landing at the head of the stairs the circuit of the 

*This and other perishable figures that adorned the exterior of the building dur- 
ing the summer of igoi, emphasized the architectural beauty of the structure, and 
suggested the great desirability of statues of suitable subjects, as permanent ad- 

t( )n taking possession of the building at the close of the exposition, the Histori- 
cal Society removed the northern partition of the lobby, on either side of the north 
entrance, thus adapting the building better to its own purposes. For this feature 
of the interior as it stands, therefore, the architect is obviously not responsible. 


five museum rooms may be made without retracing one's 

The smaller rooms are proposed to be called the Lincoln 
and Washington rooms, and the long room between is ar- 
ranged for bronzes, statuary, etc., seen from all parts of the 
museum floor. These upper rooms have Tennessee marble 
Moor, pedestals, etc., and green side walls. * 

There are spandrels, lunettes, and panels waiting to be 
painted or decorated through the generosity of our citizens. 
The- architect has given the canvas found over the central 
lunette. It was painted by Tabor Sears. The vertical radius 
is emphasized by a principal figure, "'The Muse of Niagara," 
typifying in a single figure the artistic expression of the va- 
rious forms of literary, musical, or artistic work, which the 
inspiration of Niagara lias prompted, or may suggest for the 
future. This is significant, inasmuch as the falls have been 
painted, and praised in literature, and so long as the falls 
are impressive and magnificent they will be a subject for fu- 
ture production. The genii at each side represent, first, the 
irrigation of the earth, in the form of a child with the water- 
horn ; second, the consequent fruition of the earth, repre- 
sented by a child weaving a fruit garland. The background 
is the Niagara Falls, and the primeval shore. 

The outside pediment to the south is void of statuary, 
waiting for a donation, and the exterior blocks of solid 
marble over the window openings are ready to be carved at 
some future date. Bear in mind that the Parthenon, which 
was finished 2500 years since, or 436 B. C, cost $3,000,000 
and was made beautiful and historic through its statuary and 
friezes. Lord Elgin carried away 200 feet of the frieze, the 
statues of the Parthenon, and everything he could lay his 
hands on. These marbles are now to be seen in the British 

The Historical Society building is absolutely fire-proof, 
built at a cost of $175,000, including everything as it stands. 

*The building has been redecorated since the Historical Society took posses- 
sion. The grand hall is finished in olive greens and gold, the lecture hall in cream 
and ivory tint>. the library anil dining room in yellow and brown ochre, and the 
museum and art gallery rooms on the second rloor in greens. 


The State put in $100,000; the Buffalo Historical Society 
$45,000; and the city $30,000, making $175,000 in all.* 

It was planned to accommodate not only the needs of the 
exposition, hut the ultimate needs of the Historical Society. 
It was opened to the public 12 months from the time the con- 
tract was made, and required 140 different drawings to 
properly guide the execution of the finish. It is provided 
with a heating and ventilating plant, and is lighted by a 
thousand electric lights, the fixtures being of an especially 
high grade. 

*This does not include the cost of alterations, redecorating, etc., incurred since 
the society took possession. 




■ . 




In the marble-pillared central hall of the Buffalo Historical So- 
ciety's new building is a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln. The 
figure, somewhat more than life size, is seated, one leg across the 
other in characteristic attitude; a document is, in the hands. The 
countenance, looking straight ahead, is full of the ruggedness and the 
sadness of the great original. From an artistic viewpoint it is a most 
satisfactory statue; the work of the sculptor Niehaus, and a 
replica (but for a few minor details) of the Lincoln statue by that 
artist at Muskegon, Mich. Effectively placed on its black marble 
pedestal, it is the most notable object in the possession of the His- 
torical Society. For this much-valued work of art the society, and 
the community which it represents, are indebted to the patriotism 
and the liberality of Julius E. Francis. 

Mr. Francis was born at Wethersfield, Conn., Jan. n, 1822. He 
came to Buffalo in 1835 and went to work for his brother, Daniel 
Francis, a maker of Britannia ware. In 1839, with Charles Coleman, 
he engaged in the drug business at what is now Xo. 348 Main Street, 
and here he continued for over 40 years, Mr. Coleman's interest 
having been bought in 1856. In 1880 he removed to South Division 
Street, and on Aug. 1, 1881, he died. Fie never married; but he took 
all the school children of Buffalo to his heart, and delighted in plan- 
ning for them, and carrying out with them, entertainments of a pa- 
triotic character. 

He was a hero worshipper, and Abraham Lincoln was- his hero. 
During many years, and with much travel and outlay of money, he 
collected the articles which are embraced in the Lincoln Memorial 
Collection, now the property of the Buffalo Historical Society. It 


comprises three cases of relics of the Civil War, in which are con- 
tained battlefield relics from Gettysburg, Antietam. Bull Run, etc.. 
with autographs of 10.322 soldiers and sailors who fought in the war; 
with their rank, regiment, date of enlistment, and discharge, includ- 
ing the battles in which they were engaged; also 1500 autographs of 
members of the Forty-third Congress, etc., U. S. Supreme Court 
Judges and other prominent Government officials ; also two volumes, 
containing a complete collection (1400) of the illustrated envelopes 
used during the war, with complete bound copies of the Nci\> York 
Times, Harper's Weekly, and other papers; scrap-books and his- 
tories of the war, Adjutant-General's reports, etc. In the collection 
of these relics Mr. Francis visited the battlefields and attended va- 
rious meetings of veterans, fie began the collection of relics in 1861 
and was engaged five years in completing the "Autograph Memorial" 

"The Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Case" (No. 1) contains 
76 battlefield trophies, numbered from 1 to 76, and handsomely 
mounted; also 127 volumes. This case was dedicated May 3, 1872, 
at the Grosvenor Library, Millard Fillmore presiding. 

Case No. 2 contains the autograph memorials already mentioned, 
and — with much other interesting war material — a copy of the orig- 
inal memorial to the Forty-third Congress to make Lincoln's birth- 
day a legal holiday. This case is in itself a curiosity, and is a work 
of art. It was built at a cost of $1,500, and made from historical 
woods, the following being a description of the woods inlaid in the 
case: Left pilaster, 13 stars, oak and pine, Faneuil Hall. Right 
pilaster, 34 stars, oak. Independence Flail. Upper flag, 50 stars, 
original California tree. Two Memorials, Charter Oak, Independ- 
ence Hall and Frigate "Constitution." Four small shields, orna- 
menting the Memorial of 50 citizens of Buffalo to the Forty-third 
Congress to make Abraham Lincoln's birthday »\ national holiday, 
oak, Independence Hall and "Old Ironsides." Top shield, oak. In- 
dependence Hall, pine, Faneuil Hall and California wood. Six stars 
on sides of case, hemlock, Old South Church, Boston, built 1669. 
This case was dedicated April 9 and 10, 1S76, exercises being held at 
the Unitarian Church. Hon. James Sheldon presiding. Letters ex- 
pressing sympathetic interest were read from Henry W, Longfellow, 
John G. Whittier, George William Curtis, William Cullen Bryant, 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Wendell Phillips; and many of Buffalo's 
citizens shared in the exercises. A third case, the Lincoln Memorial 
Museum, contains relics numbered from 77 to 103 inclusive. 

In addition to the work of collecting the relics to form this 


Memorial. Mr. Francis organized the Lincoln Birthday Association. 
A memorial to the Forty-third Congress was prepared, and signed 
by 50 citizens of Buffalo, to establish the t2th of February a legal 
holiday. It was drawn on parchment, backed with blue silk, with 50 
white stars, and fine needlework border, inserted in a folding case of 
French walnut, and enclosed in Russia leather case. It was intro- 
duced in the House of Representatives by Hon. Lyman K. Bass, on 
the 18th of December. 1873, and referred to the Judiciary Committee, 
who made an adverse report. May 25, 1874. This action did not, 
however, discourage its originator, who also formed the Alternate 
Lincoln Birthday Association, composed of young men from the 
public schools. An "alternate memorial" was also sent to the Forty- 
third Congress, signed by 50 young men, which was a copy of the 
original Memorial. 

The original Lincoln Birthday Association was incorporated 
Dec. 24, 1877. with the following trustees : P. P. Pratt, F. L. Dan- 
forth, J. R. Brownell, J. P. Dudley. O. P. Ramsdell, J. E. Francis, 
W. C. Francis, S. C. Adams, and George Meacham. 

The first public celebration of Lincoln's birthday took place Feb. 
12, 1874, at St. James Hall, Buffalo, and was celebrated each year 
thereafter during the life of Mr. Francis. It was his pleasure to fur- 
nish the halls, the music, both instrumental and vocal (the latter 
generally being the Liedertafel Society, or other organizations), all 
at his own expense. Fie persevered in securing the services of ora- 
tors for addresses, and also essays and poems written by interested 
friends. The celebrations were free to all, and a crowded house was 
always the result. The entertainments were held both afternoon and 
evening. In addition to this, he issued each year 60.000 beautifully- 
engraved cards, which were presented to each pupil in the public 
schools, and sent to Government officials, and others. He also ob- 
tained permission to visit the public schools .and arranged with them, 
through the Superintendent of Education, for appropriate exercises 
on the 1 2th of each February. It has been ascertained from the 
books of Mr. Francis that he expended $20,000 in this work from 
1863 to 1881. 

In his last will. Mr. Francis bequeathed to the trustees of the 
Lincoln Birthday Association his collection of relics, books and docu- 
ments, and a considerable fund, which included all of his estate ex- 
cept bequests to relatives. By 1900 this fund had become about 
$10,000. The trustees of the association at that time were: Joseph 
P. Dudley, president; G. Barrett Rich, vice-president; Frederick 
\V. Danforth, secretary and treasurer; and James Ash, William E. 



Danforth. George Meacham, Guilford R. Francis, Frank L. Danforth 
and C. Townsend Wilson. The new building plans of the Historical 
Society having taken final shape, the Lincoln Birthday Association 
voted to use the greater part of the available fund for a statue of 
Lincoln, if it might be placed in the central hall of the building. 
Committees of the two organizations (Messrs. Dudley, Rich and 
Frederick \Y. Danforth for the Lincoln Birthday Association, 
Messrs. Langdon. Hill and Severance for the Historical Society) 
completed the arrangements; and a contract was agreed upon, 
whereby the Historical Society assumed the care and preservation of 
the Lincoln statue and the Francis memorial collections. The statue, 
after the model by Niehaus, was cast in bronze by the Gorham Mfg. 
Co.; and suitably placed on a black marble pedestal, the gift of the 
Lautz Co. of Buffalo, just prior to the opening of its building to the 
public by the Historical Society in June of the present year. 




The Niagara Frontier Landmarks Association had its origin in a 
meeting of the Buffalo Chapter of the Empire State Society, Sons of 
the American Revolution, held at the Buffalo Club on the evening of 
April 23, igoo. At that meeting a resolution, proposed by the Hon. 
W. Caryl Ely, was adopted, which called for the appointment of a 
committee of five, from Buffalo Chapter, S. A. R., who should co- 
operate with committees from other patriotic and historic societies 
""that may be interested in considering a plan for locating, along the 
Niagara Frontier, suitable monuments to commemorate historical 
events."' A committee was appointed by Trueman G. Avery, presi- 
dent of the Buffalo Chapter ; and, soon thereafter, by other organiza- 
tions. Before the work of marking sites was entered upon, nine or- 
ganizations were represented in the Niagara Frontier Landmarks 
Association, by the following committees : 

Sons of the American Revolution : — W. Caryl Ely, Clarence M. 
Bushnell, Herbert P. Bis sell, Prof. Horace Briggs, Trueman G. 

Sons of the Revolution : — George W. Comstock, William Y. 
Warren, Flenry R. Howland, Col. Albert J. Meyer, Nathaniel Roch- 

Buffalo Historical Society: — Frank H. Severance, Dr. A. L. 
Benedict, James Sweeney, George D. Emerson, Capt. Louis L. Bab- 
cock, Andrew Langdon. 

Society of the War of 1812: — Dr. Joseph T. Cook, Sheldon T. 
Viele, Alexander W. Hoffman. 

Society of Colonial Wars: — John M. Provost. John W. Crafts, 
Fisher C. Atherton, Philip S. Smith, Drake Whitney, George A. 

Daughters of the American Revolution : — Mrs. C. C. Wyckoff, 
Mrs. Frank W. Abbott. Miss Ada M. Kenyon, Mrs. R. J. Sherman, 
Mrs. John Miller Horton, Mrs. Mary N. Thompson. 

Children of the American Revolution: — Mrs. Oscar L. Harries, 
Miss Edna E. Choate. Burt C. Hayes, Mrs. Edward C. Bull, Miss 
Christina M. Nuno, Jerome Fargo. 

Men's Club of Lewiston: — Dr. George S. Hobbie, J. Boardman 
Scovell. Rev. J. H. Ross. Dr. T. A. Kerr, Willard Hopkins, J. C. 


Niagara Frontier Historical Society: — Hun. Peter A. Porter, 
Hon. George VV. Wright, Hon. Thomas V. Welch, William A. Phil- 
pott, Jr., Edward T. Williams, Prof. T. B. Lovell. 

A meeting for organization was held at the residence of True- 
man G. Avery in Buffalo. Nov. 14, iqoo, at which were present repre- 
sentatives of the Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of the 
Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Children of the 
American Revolution, the Society of Colonial Wars, and the Buffalo 
Historical Society. The cooperation of the Society of the War of 
181 2, the Niagara Frontier Historical Society, and the Men's Club of 
Lewiston was pledged ; and from that date these nine organizations 
have worked together, through their committees, in prosecution of 
the proposed work, while correspondence has been carried on with 
the Ontario Historical Society, regarding suitable marking of sites 
on the Canadian side of the Niagara. 

At the meeting of Nov. 14, 1900, Trueman G. Avery was made 
chairman and George D. Emerson secretary. Committees on sites 
and organization were named. At a meeting held Dec. 26. 1900. these 
committees were enlarged, and working organization effected as 
follows : 

Officers: — Trueman G. Avery, chairman; Mrs. John Miller 
Horton, vice-chairman; George D. Emerson, secretary; Philip S. 
Smith, treasurer. 

Committee on Sites : — Frank H. Severance, chairman ; Philip S. 
Smith, Mrs. Mary N. Thompson. Prof. Horace Briggs. J. Boardman 
Scovell. Henry R. Howland. Mrs. Oscar L. Harries. Hon. Peter A. 
Porter, A. W. Hoffman. 

Finance Committee: — George A. Stringer, chairman; W*. Caryl 
Ely, Mrs. John Miller Horton, James Sweeney, Nathaniel Rochester. 
Mrs. Edward C. Bull. Thomas V. Welch, Dr. George S. Hobbie. 

Committee on Tablets: — George D. Emerson, chairman; Burt 
C. Hayes. Herbert P. Bissell, Philip S. Smith. Prof. T. B. Lovell. 
Nathaniel Rochester, J. C. Hooker, Miss Ada M. Kenyon. 

Frank H. Severance, for the Committee on Sites, submitted the 


The Committee on Sites, named at the general meeting held on 
Nov. 14th (1900), reports as follows: 

To us was assigned the task of specifying spots of historic in- 
terest on the American frontier of the Niagara worthy of being 
marked by monument or tablet. 

We have interpreted our field to extend from the south limits of 


Buffalo to Lake Ontario, including all sites within the present limits 
of the City of Buffalo, other cities and towns on the Niagara, and 
the intervening country. 

It is advisable to discriminate between spots of purely local in- 
terest and those of wider significance. In view of the greater in- 
terest which attaches to those of the latter class,, as many are here- 
designated as possible, with the assurance of accuracy. Many -pots 
of considerable local interest are not mentioned in this report : the 
aim being, however, to specify the most important. 'The method of 
our survey is geographical, not chronological. We begin with the 
southern limits of the field, and proceed northerly. 

There are. in the southern and eastern portions of Buffalo sev- 
eral sites known to students of Indian remains and ethnology; it 
would not be inappropriate to mark these site§ of burial places, 
mounds, battlefields, or camps; but as they are prehistoric and of 
unassignable dates, consideration of them is not within our present 

In point of known events, South Buffalo is the oldest part of 
the present city. On. Buffalo Creek, some three or four miles from 
its mouth, the fir-t Seneca Indian villages were established during 
the Revolutionary War. refugees settling there in 1779-80. after Sul- 
livan's raid had destroyed their old homes in the Genesee Valley. In 
this neighborhood was built a council house, at which councils and 
treaties of national importance were held. Associated with it are 
the names of Young King. Farmer's Brother, Red Jacket, and other 
Indian celebrities. Your committee knows at present of no data by 
which to fix the exact location of this council house. If its site 
should hereafter become known, the spot, merits a memorial tablet. 

Of considerable local interest in this vicinity is the well-known 
site of the Seneca Mission Church, built 1826. abandoned 1843. and 
gradually destroyed during succeeding years. Indian Church Road 
now runs through the old churchyard and near the site of the build- 
ing. Near by were the original graves of Red Jacket and other 
chiefs, and of Mary Jamison. Their historic bones were long since 
removed to other resting places — Mary Jamison to Portage in 1874, 
the chiefs to Forest Lawn in 1884 and 1894; but the site -till re- 
mains, somewhat encroached upon, it is true, but unobliterated as. 
yet, the empty graves still shaded by fine large walnuts and oaks. 
The acquisition by the city of this little plot of historic ground, and 
its incorporation into the Park system, would seem the ideal way to 
preserve its ancient landmark- from early obliteration. In any event, 
the site of the graves should be accurately marked. 


Of ev$n greater interest is the Seneca Mission House on Buffam 
Street. Built prior to 1831. it is still in good preservation, with 
heavy hewn black walnut beams that bid fair to withstand the tooth 
of time for many a year to come. In this house, from 1831 to 1844, 
dwelt the Rev. Asher Wright, missionary to the Senecas, and his 
gifted and devoted wife. Here, in 1839, was set up the Mission 
Press, on which, in the Seneca language, from specially made type, 
were printed portions of the Scriptures, hymnals, spelling books, a 
Seneca lexicon — this, at least, was begun — and a periodical, the 
Mental Elevator, in the Seneca tongue. This report is not the place 
to dwell upon the importance of the work of Mr. and Mrs. Wright. 
The publication feature alone of their varied labors is remarkable 
enough, as scholars of Indian linguistics have abundantly testified, to 
merit commemoration. It is suggested that a tablet or monument at 
the Mission House might bear not only an inscription in memory of 
the Wrights, but couid record briefly the fact that in the vicinity 
formerly stood the Council House, the exact site not being known. 
It is probable that the exact site of Red Jacket's log house, some- 
where in this vicinity, can yet be ascertained. 

In the list of sites of merely local interest the first white settler's 
house will be expected. That distinction is awarded to the house 
erected by Cornelius Winne in 17S9, on what is now the east side of 
Washington Street, at the head of Quay Street. 

More worthy of commemoration is the first schoolhouse, built in 
iSoj-'S on the west side of Pearl Street, just below Swan. It was 
burned Dec. 30, 1813. The site is now occupied by the Dun building, 
which offers a substantial wall for the affixing of a tablet. 

The first house for religious worship erected in Buffalo stood on 
the west side of Pearl Street, a short distance south of Niagara 
Street; just how far south is, so far as your committee's researches 
have discovered, a matter of doubt, but the weight of evidence in- 
dicates that the spot is now covered by Shea's Garden Theater. The 
church was begun Dec. 18, 1818, and was dedicated Jan. 24, 1819. 
Prior to this date, religious worship was held in dwelling houses, 
and, by the Presbyterians, in a carpenter shop at the northeast corner 
of Main and Huron streets. 

The only dwelling house in Buffalo which was spared at the 
burning, Dec. 30-31, 1813, had been built by Gamaliel St. John, be- 
ginning Jan. 24, 1810, on Inner Lot 53 of the Holland Land Com- 
pany's survey. This was on the west side of Main Street, nearly 
midway between Mohawk and Court streets. The middle part of the 
Becker building, occupied by the H. A. Meldrum Co., covers the site. 


At least one house now within the city limits antedates, the burn- 
ing of Buffalo. In 1813 it was too tar from the village to share in 
the general destruction, and no interest worthy of our attention at- 
taches to it because of that event. 

The Public Library building offers a sightly wall for a tablet 
commemorative of the fact that approximately that sito was occupied 
by the first court house in Niagara County, built 1810, burned 1813; 
and by the second court house, built 1817. abandoned March 11, 1876, 
and soon after demolished — Buffalo being the county seat of Niagara 
County until 1821, when Erie County was erected. The site that for 
over 60 years was the center for the administration of justice 011 the 
American side of the Niagara may appropriated be marked for the 
edification of later generations. 

Lafayette Square may well contain a tablet to inform the public 
of the more notable events in its history. In front of the Eagle 
Tavern, west side of Main Street, now Nos. 418 and 420 — just south 
of Court Street — Gen. Lafayette was presented to the public by Gen. 
Porter, the public reception resulting in the present name of the 
square. In this square, among other celebrities, at different times, 
Henry Clay. Daniel Webster, and Kossuth, have spoken; and here, 
in 1848, the National Free Soil party nominated Van Buren and 
Adams — the only national political convention ever held in Buffalo. 

The former home of Millard Fillmore, on Niagara Square, might 
suitably bear a plate to inform the stranger that here resided, after 
his retirement from office, till his death in 1874, a President of the 
United States, to whom the country is indebted, among other things, 
for cheap postage, the enlargement of the National Capitol, and the 
Perry treaty which opened Japan to the world. 

No events in the history of Buffalo have had a greater effect 
upon her development than the first improvement of the harbor and 
the extension hither of the Erie Canal. The man who was chiefly 
instrumental in bringing about these events was Judge Samuel 
Wilkeson ; and two sites are particularly associated with his mem- 
ory; the entrance to the harbor which he helped to create, and the 
Wilkeson homestead on Niagara Square. 

The Niagara River front, from the Terrace to Black Rock, has 
several sites of interest, especially in connection with the War of 
1812. There was a battery, which saw but little service, on the Ter- 
race. Another overlooked the Niagara from the edge of the bluff at 
the foot of Vermont Street, the actual site utterly obliterated by the 
construction of the Erie Canal, but now overlooked from the Front, 
most nearly approached a short distance south of the memorial to the 


13th U. S. Infantry. Still another battery was on the high hank just 
south of the foot of Massachusetts Street, and within the limits of 
the present Fort Porter. As in the case of the battery just men- 
tioned, it i> probable that the construction of the Erie Canal, and 
later of the railroad, left only empty air where formerly was this de- 
fensive work; but the edge of the bluff, at the point indicated, is the 
nearest approach thereto, on the old level. Xo place in Buffalo com- 
mand.^ a finer view; a point of popular resort, a tablet at this point 
would be seen by thousands and add the historic to the present scenic 

The exact site of the stone keep of Fort Porter — a part of the 
walls of which are still standing, a few feet under the present parade 
ground — should not be lost ; appropriate, too, would be some per- 
manent reminder of the barracks that, from 1838 up to the Mexican 
War. perhaps even later, stood on the tract bounded by Main, North, 
Delaware and Allen streets, and filled a prominent part in the mili- 
tary and social life of Buffalo.* 

Perhaps the point of greatest historic interest on the upper 
Niagara is the site of the old terry, in use at least as early as Revo- 
lutionary times, and by means of which thousands of the first settlers 
in Michigan and the Middle West passed to their destination. This 
ferry was at the famous black rock, which gives its name to the vil- 
lage. The rock itself was destroyed in the construction of the Erie 
Canal. It was an out-crop of the local limestone, some 200 or 300 
feet long, extending, a natural wharf, into the river at a point ap- 
proximately opposite the south line of the street railway company's 
buildings, west side of Niagara Street below the junction of Front 
Avenue. The abandoned Fort Street marked the approach to it. 

Fort Tompkins, otherwise Fort Adams, a defensive work of con- 
siderable importance during the War of 1S12, occupied ground now 
covered by the southern portion oi the street railway company's 
buildings, on the site above defined. 

A third battery of the 18 12 period, adjoined on the south the foot 
of Gull Street, most of the site being now occupied by a factory. A 

* Since this report was made, the assassination of President McKinley in Buf- 
falo has given a public interest to three sites in PurTalo, which should be duly 
marked: One, the spot where the President was shot Sept. 6, 1901, being the site 
of the Temple of Music of the Pan-American Exposition, not far to the north of the 
Historical Society building; another, the Milburn home, Xo. 1168 Delaware Avenue, 
where President McKinley died Sept. 14. 1901: and a third, the Wilcox home, Xo. 
641 Delaware Avenue, where Theodore Roo>e\elt took the oath of orhce as Presi- 
dent. Sept. u, 1901. This last-named house, now modernized, was the comman- 
dant's headquarters of Poinsett Barracks, and though it has been turned around, 
still stands on a part of the tract mentioned in the report. 


cannon, found here a few years ago, when excavations were made for 
the foundations of the factory, is now mounted in Lafayette Park. 

More important yet was the Sailors* Battery, at the south angle 
of the Niagara and the Scajaquada Creek. The site, for many re- 
cent years occupied by buildings of the Shepard Iron Works, is now 
hare, surrounded by a high fence, and forms part of the yard of a 
gas tank. It is the least accessihle and most important of the bat- 
teries of that period in the limits of Buffalo. 

To the east of the present Niagara Street bridge, on the south 
bank of the Scajaquada, is the site of the old Black Rock shipyard. 
Here a part of Perry's rieet was fitted out for the battle of Lake 
Erie. Here, or on the Niagara River side, in 1818, was built the 
AYalk-in-the-\Vater, the first steamboat on the lakes; and here were 
built many of the most famous steamboats that followed her, and 
many canal boats — of the old packet type — prior to 1840. Near by is 
the site of a blockhouse, built in i8c8. 

That neighborhood has abundance of historic association, none, 
however, of greater interest than the battle which was fought at the 
bridge over the Scajaquada, on Aug. 3, 1814. Early in the morning 
of that day a force of British under Lieut. -Col. Tucker of the 41st 
British Line, with the design of capturing Buffalo and destroying the 
stores, arms, and supplies there, attacked the American forces at 
Scajaquada Creek, at the bridge, a rod or so to the west of where 
Niagara Street now crosses the creek. The American forces were 
loosely entrenched on the south bank of the creek, and consisted of 
the First Battalion of the First Regiment, commanded by Major 
Morgan, with a small number of scattered auxiliaries. The Ameri- 
cans had partially removed the roadway of the bridge. The first 
assault of the British failed after severe fighting, and a second 
and very daring attempt was made by the British to repair the bridge 
imder fire; this attempt also failed. After a short delay a third and 
final assault was made at the bridge, and also about 200 feet above 
the bridge, which, after more severe fighting, was finallv repulsed, 
and the British retreated to the Canadian side. The total number of 
men engaged on the British side was 1,200 and on the American side 
not more than 350. The conflict was sharp, bloody, and. on account 
of the disparity of numbers, especially creditable to the American 
forces, although very great gallantry was displayed by the British, 
especially in the second assault. This battle saved the supplies at 
Buffalo, disheartened the British, encouraged the Americans, and 
indirectly aided in the final victory at Fort Erie. Tt is, tlierefore, 
worthy in all respects of a proper commemorative tablet. It is sug- 

416 . APPEXDIX. 

gested that a tablet affixed to the present iron bridge might record 
the battle of Black Rock, with allusions to the Sailors' Battery on 
the one hand and the old shipyard and blockhouse on the other. 

But most storied in associations, of all spots on the river front 
in Buffalo, is the Porter House, below Ferry Street, the most 
historic building in the city. Erected in 1816 by Gen. Peter B. 
Porter, it is today, not the oldest, but the best house of its age, in 
Buffalo. Gen. Porter occupied it until 1836, among his guests being 
Gen. Lafayette, John Quincy Adams, DeWitt Clinton, and other dis- 
tinguished men, including Red Jacket, and every prominent Indian 
of the vicinity. Passing into the hands of Lewis F. Allen, it con- 
tinued for many years a house of distinguished hospitality. Mr. 
Allen's guests included Henry Clay, Daniel Webster. Gen. Scott. 
Gen. McComb, and others not less famous ; and a member of his 
household for a time was his nephew, Grover Cleveland, Buffalo's 
second President of the Laiited States. Shorn of much of its sur- 
rounding estate, first by the construction of the canal, then of the 
railroad, and later by sale of land for buildings, the house still stands 
by itself apart, the embodiment of more Niagara Frontier history 
than any other structure in Buffalo. It gives a distinction to the city 
which no modern structure could supply. It stiould be preserved. 
The observation is ventured, that the acquisition — or eve:: the lease — 
of this house by one or more of our patriotic societies, and the dedi- 
cation of it to commemorative uses, would be, however unpractical, 
an ideal way of memorializing the place. 

About two blocks north of the Porter house, or one block beyond 
the building which was the Breckenridge Street Church (the oldest 
building erected for a church now standing in the city), is the scene 
of the heavy fighting in the first battle of Black Rock. On July 11. 
1813, the British made their first attempt to capture Black Rock and 
Buffalo. Cols. Bishop and Warren, with 250 men, crossed the river, 
landed below Squaw Island, marched to the Navy Yard on the Sca- 
jaquada and occupied it before they were discovered. They burned 
the barracks and blockhouse there, and the barracks at Fort Tomp- 
kins. Maj. Adams, in command at Black Rock, sent to Buffalo for 
reinforcements. One hundred regulars, under Capt. Cummings. the 
same number of militia under Mai. Adams. 30 volunteers from Buf- 
falo Plains, under Capt. Hull; Capt. Bull's company from Buffalo, 
and 30 Indians led by Farmer's Brother, met the enemy in line near 
Fort Tompkins, the present site of the Street Railway Company's 
power house. After sharp fighting the English gave way, and re- 
treated to their boats, the Americans pursuing; the heaviest fighting 


taking- place just south of Auburn Avenue, near Mason Street. The 
English lost about ioo killed, wounded and missing, and 15 prisoners. 
The American loss was three killed and five wounded, among "the 
latter being the Seneca chief Young King. This engagement might 
be mentioned on a tablet commemorative of Fort Tompkins, placed 
in the wall of the Street Railway Co.'s building; or at the Porter 
house, which stands on ground fought over. Mason Street, men- 
tioned above, is an obscure, picturesque little street one block long, 
from Breckenridge to Auburn, between Niagara Street and the Xew 
York Central Railroad. 

Before leaving Buffalo, it may be remarked that although the 
business of this report is with sites and not with people, yet any 
project of historic commemoration in Buffalo would be conspicuously 
incomplete which gave no thought to Joseph Ellicott. The generous 
tract of land which he reserved for himself was bounded by Eagle, 
Swan and Main streets, running east to what is now Jefferson Street. 
The name of the founder of the city is preserved to us in Ellicott 
Square, the office building oil a part of the above-named tract ; and 
in the name of a street. The Goodrich house, built in 1823 or '24, 
near the northeast corner of Main and High streets, was begun by 
Mr. Ellicott, and he occupied it a short time in 1825. Removed by 
Mr. John C. Glenny, nearly 20 years ago, to Amherst Street, it still 
stands there, one of Buffalo's most beautiful houses, and the only one 
in the city directly associated with the founder of Buffalo. Ellicott 
Square makes the name familiar; upon it, or within it. an inseription 
might suitably be placed. The ideal memorial, in addition thereto, 
would be a :-tatue of Joseph Ellicott in the center of the court. 

Before leaving Buffalo and passing down the river it is well to 
note that Buffalo Plains, especially that portion of it known "as Flint 
Hill, has mail}' associations connected with the War of 1812. The 
original graves of the soldiers now buried in the well-marked grave 
in the Park meadow, were not far from the hanks of the Scajaquada, 
on the old Granger place. The Buffalo Historical Society has already 
placed a cannon, suitably inscribed and protected, at the old soldiers' 
burying ground on Eleven Mile Creek, near Williamsville. If this 
organization choose to extend its survey as far as that village, it 
should mark the Evans house, said to have been built — in its oldest 
portion — in 1797. and generally regarded as the oldest house in Erie 
County. It was used by Gen. Wintield Scott as headquarters for a 
time during the War of 1812; prior to 1823 it was a tavern; was 
deeded to Lewis Ellicott Evans, Dec. 25, 1823. and is still owned by 
the Evans fain d v. 


Passing north along the Niagara, there is nothing that demands 
our attention at the Tonawandas. The first site of Maj. Noah's 

Ararat, a refuge city for the Jews, is well known and might be 
marked for the edification of the curious. Your committee says 
"first" site. The reason thereof is apparent to anyone familiar with 
Lewis F. Allen's entertaining history of the matter, wherein he tells 
of the peripatetic monument which he. and not Maj. Noah, built at 
Whitehaven, opposite Tonawanda. 

One other site on Grand Island may he mentioned here — Burnt 
Ship Bay, at the northern end. where, in 1759, after the loss of Fort 
Niagara, the French burned and sunk two of their vessels, to prevent 
them from falling into the hands, of the British. 

Of all the historic sites on the Niagara, first in popular interest 
is the spot where La Salle, in 1679, built the Griffon, the first vessel. 
other than a bark canoe, to navigate the upper lakes. This is on the 
eastern bank of the arm of the river known as the Little Niagara, 
about opposite the middle of Cayuga Island, a short distance south of 
the mouth of Cayuga Creek. Approximately on the same spot, now 
on the Angevine farm, the United States, about 1S04, established a 
shipyard, where a vessel was built and others were repaired for some 
years. Happily, the topography of the spot cannot have suffered 
much change through the lapse of years. A monument on the spot 
will be near much-traveled highways, and plainly visible from the 
windows of passing trolley car or railway train. 

From this point northerly to Lake Ontario, historic sites not only 
abound, but relate, many of them, to a period whose history is not 
shared by Buffalo; the period of French occupancy, from 1678 — one 
may say, from 1626, thus including the visits of the first white men 
known to have reached our river — to 1759. The same points, in 
many cases, are associated successively with British and American 

The so-called Tunnel or New Factory district, on the southern 
edge of the city of Niagara Falls, embraces several points that de- 
mand attention. 

First — Schlosser dock, where, about 1816, was built a storehouse 
by Porter, Barton & Co., it being the upper end of the new portage 
from Lewiston, and the great shipping point above the Falls for a 
vast amount of freight to and from the West. There are two sites 
on the American shore especially associated with the Patriot War 
of 1837. One is the spot in Breckenridge Street, Buffalo — in front 
of the old church— where Gen. Winfield Scott planted his cannon; 
the other, and m< re important, this old clock. Here it was, en the 


night of Dec. 29, 1837. that the British seized the "Caroline" — one 

man being killed on the deck in the' fray — towed her into the stream, 
set tire to her and sent her blazing toward the Falls. This affair, 
which threatened to involve the United States and Great Britain in 
another war, can most appropriately be marked on the site of the old 
dock. Another site to note in this connection is that of Mackenzie's 
camp on Navy Island. 

Second — A short distance below the site of the old dock is the 
site of Fort Schlosser, built by the British in 1760. 

Third — Nearer yet to the Falls, the site of Fort Little Niagara, 
built in 1759- 

Fourth — Near this, the old stone chimney, an ideal landmark as 
it stands, but threatened with destruction. It was built by the 
French, as a part of their barracks, about 1750. Ten years later, the 
French buildings being destroyed, the English attached to the chim- 
ney a large dwelling, using a framework which the French had some 
time before prepared for a chapel at Fort Niagara. This house, later 
known as Steadman's. was burned in 1S13, the chimney being once 
more left, as a monument to the vicissitudes of time. 

On the present Portage road, a quarter of a mile or so from the 
river, can still be traced the outlines of one of the blockhouses 
erected in 1764 by Capt. John Montresor. It was the last of several 
built by him to protect the road for the passage of Bradstreet's army. 

Near the upper end of the State Reservation is the site of 
Frenchman's Lauding, the upper end of the old Indian trail about 
the Falls, and the termination of the earliest portage. Here, about 
1745, a blockhouse and storehouse were erected by the French. 

Within the bounds of the State Reservation, although interesting- 
associations attach to many points, there is not a site known to pos- 
sess particular historic significance. The establishment of the Reser- 
vation, as a park free to the world, is the most significant event that 
has happened there. A tablet, recording the names of those chiefly 
interested in bringing about that consummation, and the date when 
it was opened free to the world — July 15, 1885 — erected at a sightly 
point in the Park, would add to the gratification of visitors. For 
this, the cooperation of the Park Commissioners should be enlisted. 

A short distance north from the northerly boundary of the Res- 
ervation, is the site of the Indian Ladder of days before settlement. 
It was a tall cedar, with branches lopped off about a foot from the 
trunk, fastened to the face of the cliff. By this means, Indians and 
early white visitors descended to the water below. 

Midway on the road to Lewiston are Bloody Run and the Devil's 
Hole, the scene of the massacre of September, 1763. Here the 


Senccas ambushed a British supply tr.ain, on the first return journey 
over the reconstructed portage road from Fort Schlosser to Fort 
Niagara, only three of about ioo men escaping. A little farther 
north, the same Indians ambushed a British relieving force of two 
companies, hastening up from the site of Lewiston, only eight es- 
caping the second slaughter. A blockhouse was built by Montresor, 
in 1764, on the north side of the Run, near the edge of the cliff. The 
present trolley line runs within a few feet of it. 

In this connection a word may be added regarding some points 
to which historic associations are, as we believe, erroneously im- 
puted. In this class belong the cave and so-called Council Rock in 
the Devil's Hole glen; and Hennepin's Point, in the State Reserva- 

The edge of the escarpment or "mountain" overlooking Lewiston 
has many associations, some of them the most important in our fron- 
tier history. This was the last of .Father Hennepin's "three moun- 
tains," up which were toilfully carried the anchors and cordage for 
the Griffon. Here is the site of the first of the blockhouses winch 
Montresor built in 1764. Here was the upper end of the incline for 
hoisting goods front the river below— which may be regarded as the 
first railroad in America — and here is the site of the garrisoned 
storehouses built by the French in 1751. Here, too, in 1812. was 
built the earthwork known as Fort Gray. 

Passing down the mountain, we come, on the Lewiston plateau, 
to the site of Joncaire's cabin, built 1719, soon enlarged to a fort 
called "Magazin Royal," Frances first permanent location on the 
river, which endured for more than a year, and through which was 
obtained permission to build what became Fort Niagara. Near it 
were Flennepin's Landing, and the cabin which he built in 1678; and 
very near are the site> of the small fort built by the British about 
1764; of the lower end of the old incline — the actual site obliterated 
by subsequent works, latest of them being the construction of the new- 
bridge; of the wharves built by the British about 1764; of the store- 
houses for goods in transit, which were built by the French in 1751. 
and maintained with increased garrisons by the British from 1759 to 
1764; and the approach to the old Lewiston Ferry. 

On the height east of Lewiston is the Tuscarora Reservation, the 
home of the first settlers on the Holland Purchase — a part of the 
Tuscarora tribe, who settled here in 17S0. a spot with many associa- 
tions of Revolutionary and pioneer days. Near by. below the moun- 
tain, are the sites of Gen. Van Rensselaer's camp, the first military 
camp on this frontier during the War of 1812, and of "Brant's 


church." built about 1780 on the Ridge road: the first building on the 
frontier, outside of Port Niagara, used as a Protestant church. 
Around it was the village of the Mohawks, who dwelt here during 
the "hold-over"' period. 

On the hill above the Lewiston Ferry landing, right in front of 
the Barton homestead, is the site where Col. Winfield Scott planted 
the battery which protected the American troops in their first in- 
vasion of Canada on the morning of Oct. 13, 1812. 

On the river bank, between Lewiston and Youngstown, are the 
well-known Five Mile Meadows, where on the night of Dec. 18, 1813, 
the British landed for their attack on Fort Niagara, which they cafH 
tured and followed up with the devastation of the whole American 

A little farther along, we come to La Belle Famille, where, in 
1759, Sir William Johnson routed the French force from the West 
which was hastening to relieve Fort Niagara. A portion of this site 
is now included in the grounds of Mr. O. P. Letchworth. 

Within the present limits of Youngstown. on the shore, was the 
Salt Battery, a principal point in the line of defensive outworks for 
Fort Niagara during the War of 1812. 

We have now arrived at Fort Niagara, the most historic spot on 
the river: with more history of importance than all the rest of the 
frontier put together. It cannot be adequately indicated, even, in this 
report. The following brief syllabus must suffice: 

Here is the presumptive site of La Salle's house, built 1669, 
burnt by the-Senecas 1075; here, in 1679. La Salle marked out and 
built Fort Conti ; here was Fort de Denonville, built 1687, abandoned 
1688: here still stands the "castle," the foundations of which were 
laid in 1725. the oldest masonry on the frontier. From this building, 
enlarged and modified from time to time, first the French and then 
the English, up to 1796, held sway from Albany westward, over a 
vast wilderness empire. Here still stand the French barracks, built 
about 1750; the magazine, built 1754. coming into wide fame in 1826, 
from the incarceration therein of William Morgan of anti-Masonic 
fame: the bakehouse, built 1762; and two blockhouses, antedating 
the Revolution, built respectively in 1771 and 1773. the best speci- 
mens of their style of architecture in America. Here, too, is the site, 
believed to have been lately determined, of the grave of Gen. 
Prideaux, killed in the siege of July, 1759; and of the old chapel. It 
is desirable that Government permission be secured in order that ex- 
cavations may be made. Federal cooperation should also be enlisted 
in the erection of tablets or monuments on the fort reservation. 


East of the fort may still be seen the British parallels built for 
the siege of 1759. And four miles to the eastward, on the shore of 
Lake Ontario, our site-hunting tour ends at Prideaux's Landing, 
where, in 1759, landed the army that was to capture Fort Niagara, 
and thus aid materially in ending the rule of France in the New 

It is not the purpose of this association of societies, and there- 
fore no part of the duty of your committee, to designate historic sites 
on the Canadian side of the Niagara. But as the cooperation of our 
friends across the border has already been asked in the good work — 
in which, by the way, they long since made good beginning — and for 
the sake of approximate completeness, the following list of important 
sites on the Canadian side is appended : 

Fort Erie, built by Montresor in 1764; built again, 1778; re- 
built in 1790. again in 1791, and a fourth time in 1807, though none 
of the latter times in the exact former location. A modern associa- 
tion with this vicinity was the battle of Ridgeway, in the Fenian in- 
vasion of 1866. Well known, near the fort, are the sites of three 
British siege works and a line of earthworks, protected by abattis, 
extending inland for nearly half a mile, and further protected by two 
blockhouses of the 1812 period. Passing down the river, we come 
to the battlefield of Chippawa, the "tete du pont" battery of 181 2, on 
Chippawa Creek, and the site of Fort Chippawa, built about 1790. 
The great battle of Lundy's Lane — Bridgewater or Niagara — is al- 
ready commemorated by an observatory overlooking the historic and 
well-cared-for burying-ground. The site of the battle of Queenston 
Heights is marked by the splendid monument to Gen. Brock; ade- 
quately marked, too, is the spot where he was killed, at the foot of 
the slope. On the heights, near the great monument, may still be 
traced the outlines of Fort Drummond, and on the very edge of the 
cliff the redan battery of that period. In Queenston still stands the 
house in which was printed the first newspaper published in Upper 
Canada. Below, on the river bank, is the site of Yrooman*s battery, 
of the War of 1812. A short distance above the old town of Niagara, 
are the remains of Fort George, built 1796, enlarged later and playing 
a most important part during the War of 1812. In a bastion of this 
fort, it will be remembered, Gen. Brock was first buried. The town 
of Niagara is full of historic' walls and places. Among the old build- 
ings are Navy Hall, not now on its original site, built 1792, in which 
was held the first session of the first Parliament of Upper Canada. 
Still standing, too. are the old barracks used by Butler's Rangers 
during the Revolutionary period. Fort Mississauga, at the angle of 


lake and river, was built by the British in 1S14. 'The old lighthouse, 
and the British battery at Montreal Point, built 1759. may complete 
the rough list, which i> only intended to show how rich in historic 
sites is the Canadian side of the Niagara. 

Our survey of the whole held suggests the following sites as 
most worthy of the first attention of the association, others to be- 
taken up from time to time as may be found feasible. First, the 
shipyard of the Griffon; in Buffalo, the sites of the early court- 
houses, the St. John hot^e, the first school-house, and the Fillmore 
house; all located on much frequented thoroughfares. The bridge 
at Black Rock, the Porter house, and the site of Fort Tompkins, are 
of at least equal importance with the Buffalo group just named. As 
the work progresses the old Mission House should receive early at- 
tention. Below Niagara Falls, the Devil's Hole should be one of the 
first to be marked. Two inscriptions are suggested for it : one to be 
placed on the bank above, at the exact scene of the attack ; the other 
below, at the Gorge Road station leading up into the glen; for this 
has become an approach to the place for thousands of tourists who 
do not go thither by the upper road; and a point at Lewiston com- 
memorating the various sites directly adjacent thereto and noted 
above. The old chimney above the Reservation is the best landmark 
for its site that could be devised. A protecting railing and suitably 
inscribed tablet affixed thereon, are suggestions which, with this re- 
port as a whole, are respectfully submitted. 


Buffalo Historical Society. 

Niagara Frontier Historical Society. 

Sons of the Revolution. 

Society of Colonial Wars. 

Sons of the American Revolution. 

Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Children of the American Revolution. 

Society of the War of 1812. 

Mtn's Club of Lewiston. 


Acting on a suggestion of the foregoing report, it was decided 
that the first site to he marked should he the spot where the Griffon 
was built, and launched in May, 1679. This is on the farm of Jack- 
son Angevine near the village of La Salle, and on the margin of the 
arm of the Niagara known as the Little Niagara, just south of the 
mouth of Cayuga Creek. On the afternoon of Aug. 7. 1 901, this spot 
was visited by many members of the Landmarks Association, for a 
celebration of the 222(1 anniversary of the sailing of the Griffon. 
Mrs. John Miller Horton drove a stake to fix the site of the monu- 
ment; the Hon. Peter A. Porter made a brief address on the history 
of the place, and resolutions were adopted declaring that the Asso- 
ciation would mark the site with a suitable monument. 

At the next meeting of the Association, May 9, 1902, Mr. George 
D. Emerson, chairman of the Committee on Tablets, submitted 
sketches for tablets for marking the site of the first school-house in 
Buffalo, the St. John house, and the Battle of Black Rock; and re- 
ported that the Niagara Frontier Historical Society of Niagara Falls 
offered to supply a boulder monument and suitable bronze tablet for 
the Griffon site. This offer was accepted; and on May 24. 1902, 
there was a large gathering at the site named, on the margin of the 
Niagara, for the unveiling of the memorial. Mr. Trueman G. Avery 
presided. The exercises included a prayer by the Rev. Luke A. 
Grace, C. M., of Niagara University; the gift from Mr. Angevine 
to Mr. Avery, in behalf of the Association, of a deed to the land on 
which the boulder rests; and a presentation address, by the Hon. 
Peter A. Porter, president of the Niagara Frontier Historical So- 
ciety, at the clo;,e of which Mrs. John Miller Horton drew from the 
boulder the large American flag which had covered it and its bronze 
tablet. Mr. George D. Emerson accepted the boulder on behalf of 
the Niagara Frontier Landmarks Association; Thomas Bailey 
Lovell. LL. D.. principal of the Cleveland Avenue High School of 
Niagara Falls, delivered an historical address; Charles \Y. Wilcox 
of Niagara Falls read a poem composed for the occasion, entitled 
''The Mayflower and Griffon"; and Herbert P. Bissell of Buffalo 
addressed the assemblage on "The Commercial Development of the 
Great West.'" The Hon. George A. Lewis led in the singing of 
''America," and the highly interesting exercises closed with the bene- 
diction pronounced by the Rev. Mr. Grace. A congratulatory tele- 
gram was read from President Roosevelt. 

The memorial consists of a field boulder of many tons weight, 
on which is affixed a bronze tablet with this inscription: 

. APPENDIX. 4>5 

Hereabout, in May, 1679, 


built the Griffon "of sixty tons 

burthen," the first vessel to 

sail the upper lakes. 

Erected by Niagara Frontier Historical Society 


Presented to Niagara Frontier Landmarks Association, 

May. 1902. 

The Niagara Frontier Landmarks Association was incorporated 
May IS, 1902, the following persons being its hrst hoard of directors: 
Trueman G. Avery. Horace Briggs, George D. Emerson, Jeanie L. 
Harries, John C. Hooker. Katharine Pratt Morton, Henry R. How- 
land, Nathaniel Rochester, Frank H. Severance, Philip S. Smith, 
George A. Stringer, Mary N. Thompson and Sheldon T. Viele, all 
of Buffalo, and Peter A. Porter of Niagara Falls. The annual meet- 
ing of the corporation is fixed for the second Thursday in November, 
in each year. 

Note. — On July 25. 1902. a bronze tablet \va< unveiled on the building at Xo. 460 
Main Street, marking the site of the St. John house mentioned on p. 412 of the fore- 
going report. Addresses were made by Trueman G. Avery, president of the Land- 
marks Association, and by Prof. Horace Briggs. The tablet was unveiled by Nancy 
Strong Gardner, four-year-old daughter of Mrs. W. Allen Gardner, who is a daugh- 
ter of Franklin Sid way. whose father, Jonathan Sid way, married a daughter of Mrs. 
St. John; the unveiling was therefore performed by a great-great-granddaughter 
of the pioneer woman whose tact and bravery are commemorated by the tablet. 
The inscription is as follows: "The site of the St. John house, the only dwelling 
spared by the British at the burning of Buffalo, Dec. 30-31, 1813. Erected by the 
Niagara Frontier Landmarks Association. 1902." 

On Aug. 2. 1902. a tablet was unveiled on the Niagara-Street bridge, over the 
Scajaquada, bearing this inscription: " Near and around this spot was fought the 
battle of I'dack Rock. August 3, 1814. between American and British troops, in 
which the former were successful. Erected by Niagara Frontier Landmarks Asso- 
ciation, 1902." The exercises, conducted by Buffalo representatives of the Society 
of the War of iSu. included addresses by George lb Emerson and lion. Peter A. 
Porter, the tablet being unveiled by Miss Crace E. liird and two grandsons of Col. 
William A. Bird— William A. Bird, Jr.. and Cyrus Remington Bird. 

ERRATA.'— On page 416. uth line' from bottom, for "Cols. Bishop and Warren." " Lt. Cols. Cecil Bis^hopp and Thomas Clark." Warren is stated, by various 
historians, to have been with Bisshopp on tins occupation, the error apparently 
originating in the account printed in the Buffalo (nizette. July 13, 1813. The official 
letter of Lt. Col. Clark, showing his participation, is printed in the ( 'affect ions oi the 
Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, vol. 25, pp. 485-6. 







OF 1837 - r 3B. 

Being an Appendix to Volume Five, Buffalo 
Historical Society Publications. 

Buffalo, N. Y 


The undertaking in the following list is to set clown, with some 
helpful comment, the titles of the hooks and pamphlets relating in 
whole or part to thy ..disturbances of ... 1837-38 which are variously 
designated as the Patriot War, Mackenzie's Rebellion, or the Upper 
Canada Rebellion. I have used the last name, as being more truly 
descriptive. The years named cover the actual outbreak; but that 
outbreak was merely an episode in the course of a political move- 
ment which began many years before, and only ended with the union 
of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841. In its broader aspect the re- 
bellion was a phase of a social and political evolution, beginning at 
least as early as 181 7, the effects of which are still potent in the life 
of the Dominion. Its sources were deeply rooted in Upper Canada 
when, in the year named, Robert Gourlay began his crusade against 
abuses. It might be warrantable to regard as the beginning of the 
literature oi the rebellion of 'iJ-'S, the thirty-one printed questions 
which Gourlay published in 1817, asking prominent people what in 
their judgment did most to retard the development of the province. 
Gourlay suffered for his zeal — he was banished; but the outcry 
against the oligarchy known as the Family Compact, the dissatisfac- 
tion with the allotment of lands known as the Clergy Reserves, and 
the demand, in short, that the people should become a more potent 
factor in the administration of their own affairs, grew louder and 
deeper until they found a mouthpiece in William Lyon Mackenzie. 
Utterly unsuited for leadership, and failing miserably in the resort 
to force, which was never in any sense an uprising of the Canadian 
people, he was yet the means of hastening the day when the province 
should receive a form of government more beneficent, more truly 
representative, than he ever dreamed of in all his clamor for "re- 

It is necessary to set arbitrary bounds to the literature of any 
historical episode, for events are so related to what has gone before 
and to what follows, that the only way to compass a subject is t<> cut 
away on all sides of it with such judgment as may be. or as befits the 
specific purpose. Thus in the following li-t 1 have included numer- 


ous title* relating to the Clergy Reserves, one of the most sub- 
stantial of the grievances against which the outcry was raised. But 
my survey, with very few exceptions, has been confined to the litera- 
ture of events comprised in the years i836-'40. It is especially inter- 
esting- to note how active the pamphleteers and presses were in 1836, 
the year before the resort to force; and again in 1839, when the 
many publications, governmental and otherwise, which followed the 
outlawry and fiasco of arms, suggest the distant rumbling of thunder 
after the passing of a summer shower. Subsequent writings on the 
subject have their value, but these contemporary imprints, themselves 
a part, as it were, of the outbreak, have a unique interest to the 
student of the history of this region. 

Primarily, it is true, the literature of the Upper Canada Rebel- 
lion is somewhat apart from that of Western New York, the natural 
field of research for the Buffalo Historical Society — though border 
movements are seldom restricted to either side. Incidentally, that 
rebellion fastened itself upon the United States border from 
Northern and Western New York to Michigan; and intruded upon 
a page of our diplomatic relations with Great Britain. Hence the 
literature of the subject must be taken note of, in any survey of the 
literature of the Niagara region. In one phase, that literature is 
peculiarly American, as distinguished from Canadian. Many of the 
apprehended "Patriots" who were exiled to Van Diemen's Land, 
claimed residence on this side of the border; and on their return 
apparently found some satisfaction in writing and printing the story 
of their sufferings. The narratives of Gates, Marsh, Miller, Suther- 
land, Wait and others form a unique group of books, of historic 
value as to their contents, curious and interesting as imprints of the 
presses of Buffalo, Lockport, Fredonia, and elsewhere half a century 
or more ago. In the following list are given fac-similes of the title- 
pages of some of these narratives of exile, with a few other of the 
rarer books relating to our subject. 

The disturbances of i837- ? 38 in Upper and in Lower Canada, 
though distinct in their origin and course, had at least a bond of 
sympathy, and form practically one page in the history of Canada 
so far as the evolution of her present form of government is con- 
cerned; but it would carry ns too far afield to include in the present 
list the literature of the Lower Canada outbreak, usually called 
Papineau's Rebellion. Although it is not in any sense literature of 
the Niagara region, the student of the subject will find his interest 
naturally extend from the field of the exploits of Mackenzie to that 
of his French prototype; and he should be familiar with the prin- 


cipal narratives relating to that phase of the subject. Among them 
are Carrier's Lcs Evcncments de 1837-8. Esquissc Histoire dc ['insur- 
rection du Pas Canada (Quebec, 1877) ; David's Lcs Pat riot es de 
1S37-1838 (Montreal. 1884) ; Journal d'un Exile politique aux tcrrcs 
australes, by L. Ducharme (Montreal, 1845) ; Globensky's La Rebel- 
lion dc 1837 a Saiitt-Eustacltc. Precede d'un expose de la situation 
politique du Bas-Canada depuis la cession; Felix Poutre's Echappc 
de la Potcncc — Souvenirs d'un prisonnier d'Etat Cauadicn en 1S38 
(at least two French editions, Montreal, 1869 and 1884, and an 
English version. Escaped from the Gallon's, etc., Montreal, 1862) ; 
Notes d'un coudaiunc politique de 1S38, by F. X. Prieur (an ed. 
Montreal, 1884) ; and the Memoires relatif a I'einprisonncnicnt de 
I'honorablc D. B. I'igcr (Montreal, 1840). Some of these narratives 
tell of enforced voyages into exile on the notorious prison ship 
Buffalo, and parallel, in their tales of suffering in Van Diemen's 
Land, the chronicles of Marsh, Wait and others from Buffalo and 
vicinity. To the list should perhaps be added the reminiscences of 
John Fraser contained in his Canadian Pen and Ink Sketches (Mon- 
treal, 1890). 

So far as method is concerned, the present attempt has been to 
make merely an author catalogue, with cross-references under the 
principal topical heads which the subject naturally suggests. Books 
and pamphlets relating wholly or chiefly to this subject are fully 
collated whenever possible — and there are very few titles in the list 
which have not been transcribed from the books themselves. Works 
of broader scope, containing chapters or passages of importance, re- 
lating to the rebellion, are recorded with less particularity, though 
usually the title-page at least is given in full. General reference 
works, for the most part of easy access to the users of libraries, are 
indicated as briefly as possible, consistent with clearness. Certain 
niceties of bibliographical work, such as the indication of alignment 
en title-pages, and the height of books by the metric system, are not 
attempted; but it is hoped the usefulness of the list is not greatly 
impaired thereby. Numerous citations from "Hansard" indicate 
"Hansard's Parliamentary Debates." The compiler has. had no op- 
portunity to examine other documents and papers of the British 

The compiler cherishes no delusions as to completeness, his un- 
derstanding being that nothing bibliographical is. ever was or ever 
will be, either complete or wholly accurate. He has merely done 
what he could, under hampering conditions of time, space for print- 
ing, and opportunity for research. The real basis of the list is his 



own library. Next to that he found most material in the Toronto 
Public Library, where the collection of early pamphlets bearing on 
the political phases of the subject is probably unrivalled. Special and 
grateful acknowledgment is made to the librarian of that institution, 
Mr. James Bain. Jr., for help given. Cordial help has also been given 
at the Buffalo Public Library. 

The hope is entertained, that in subsequent volumes of the Buf- 
falo Historical Society Publications, the bibliography of the literature 
of the Niagara region may be continued with other lists on well- 
defined periods or episodes. Some of the subjects that naturally 
suggest themselves are: the French period, /. c, in its historical re- 
lation to this region, ending with the capitulation of Fort Niagara in 
-1759; the Holland Purchase; the Indians; the War of 1812 — a vast 
subject, but of which, so far as known, no adequate bibliography has 
been published; the Frie Canal; the anti-Masonic episode; the 
Fenian Raid: and especially the literature of travel, scientific ob- 
servation and description pertaining to Niagara Falls. Under these 
and other heads the literature of the region may well be surveyed. 

F. H. S. 



Adam. G. Mercer. See Sir John A. MacdonalcL 

Addresses, presented to His Excellency Major General Sir John 
Coibome, K. C. B. Lieut-Governor of Upper Canada, on the 
occasion of his leaving the Province. Toronto. — R. Stanton, 
Printer to the King's most Excellent Majesty. 1836. 
Svo. pp. 67. 

Addresses to Sir Francis B. Plead, Bart, from the Legislatures of the 
British North American Colonies, &c, &c, &c. on his resignation 
of the Government of Upper Canada. Toronto: R. Stanton, 
Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty. 183S. 
Reprinted as Appendix B. to Head's Narrative, q. v. 

Affairs (The) of the Canadas. In a series of letters to the London 
Times. By a Canadian. London, 1837. 

Svo. pp. j=>. Sec Rev. A. E. Ryerson, D. D. 
Albany Argus, Jan. . ., 1838. 

A reprint of the official account of the burning of the Caroline, 
forwarded to Gov. Marcy. 

Annual Register ... of the year 1837. London, . . . 1838. 

Chap, x. Affairs of Canada, History of Canadian discontents, 
Mr. Hume's defence of his letter to Mr. Mackenzie, speeches of 
Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Labouchere, Charles Buller, etc., etc. 

Annual Regi.-ter . . . of the year 1838. London . . .1839. 

Chap, i (pp. 1-21) relates wholly to the Canadian insurrection; 
chaps, ii and iii, to Parliamentary debates and measures in relation 
thereto. Of prime value to the student of the subject. 

Annual Register . . . of the year 1839. London . . . 1840. 

Chap. viii. Affairs in Canada, particularly Lord Durham's Re- 
port, review of British policy toward Canada, change in the plan. 
Annual Register . . .of the year 1840. London . . . 1841. 

Chap. viii. Union of the Canadas. sale of Clergy Reserves, etc. 


Atkins. Barton. The River Niagara, descriptive and historical 
. . . By Barton Atkins. Buffalo. 1899. 
i2mo. pp. 44. 
Chap. vii. "The Patriot War." 

Barber. John W, and Henry Howe. Historical Collections of the 
State of New York. . . . New York. 1841. 

Under "St. Laurence County." pp. 487-489, is given an account 
of the battle of Prescott, reprinted from E. A. 'I heller. a. v.; at 
p. 357, an account of the Caroline affair, quoted from S. DeYeaux, 
q. v. 

Barrister (A) [pseud.] A few words on the subject of Canada. 
[quot. 61.] London: Longman. Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & 
Longman. Paternoster-Row. 1837. 
Svo. pp. 52. 

Beayex, James. [Clergy Reserves.] See Am. Church Review, vol. 4, 
July and Oct. 185 1. 

An excellent history of the subject. 

Bethuxe (Rev.) A. N. Thoughts on the lawfulness and expediency 
of church establishments ; and suggestions for the appropriation 
of the Clergy Reserves in Upper Canada as far as respects the 
Church of England: in a letter to C. A. Hagerman, Esq. M. P. 
Solicitor General of Upper Canada. By the Rev. A. X. Bethune. 
rector of Cobourg. and chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Quebec. 
Cobourg: R. D. Chatterton. printer, 1836. 
8vo. pp. 32. 

Bethuxe. A. X. (D.D.) The Clergy Reserve question in Canada. 
By A. X'. Bethune. D. D. Archdeacon of York, diocese of Toronto, 
Canada. London: Printed by R. Clay. Bread Street Hill. 1853. 
Svo. pp. 24. 

Bettridge. William. A brief history of the Church in Upper Can- 
ada : containing the acts of Parliament, Imperial and Provincial: 
royal instructions: proceedings of the deputation; correspond- 
ence with the Government ; clergy reserves' question. &c. &c. By 
William Bettridge, B. D., (St. John's College, Cambridge,) Rector 
of Woodstock, Upper Canada. [2/.] London: Printed and 
published by W. E. Painter, at the offices of the Church of 
England Gazette, and Churchman. 342. Strand, and sold by all 
booksellers. 1838. 
8vo. pp. 143. [il. 

Bigelow. Allen G. The City of Buffalo, its history and institutions. 
. . . Buffalo. . . . 1888' 

Buffalo Express souvenir is^ne. Sept.. 1888. (Pp. $6, ill.) 
Gives briefly events of the rebellion in Buffalo and on the Niagara. 

Boxxey. (Mrs.) Catharina V. R. A Legacy of Historical Glean- 
ing-, compiled and arranged by Mrs. Catharina V. R. Bonney. 
... In two volume*. Second edition. Albany. X. Y. : J. Mtin- 

sell. 82 State Street. 1875. 


Svo. vol. i, pp. vii[i], 542; vol. ii. pp. vii, 544. ///. 

Vol. ii. chap, iv, "Narration of facts connected with the Fron- 
tier movements of the Patriot Army of Upper Canada," and 
chap, v, "The Canadian Patriot Army" (pp. 61-105), relate 
chiefly to the participation in the rebellion of Rensselaer Van 
Rensselaer, who was Mrs. Bonney's brother; many letters are 
given, which passed between Cyrenius Chapin, Reims. Van Rens- 
selaer, his father. Gen. Solomon Van R-. and other members of 
the family; Reims. Van R's "Own Notes on his Military Life*,'" 
relating to hi> participation in the rebellion, pp. 76-104, interrupted 
with other documents. 

Bonnycastle (Sir) Richard H. The Canadas in 1841. London, 

1842. 2\. 

Chap. xiv. vol. 1, devotes several pages to a sketchy, highly 
rhetorical account of what "the ruffian Mackenzie" and his 
"vermin" followers did. Sir Richard applauds Head for re- 
moving the regular troops and relying solely on the militia — the 
very act for which calmer writers usually condemn the Lieutenant 
Governor. "1 actually believe there were at one period of the out- 
break no fewer than 40,000 militia in the held, throughout the 
upper province," is one of the characteristic extravagancies of 
this writer, who was one of the first of the never-ending succes- 
sion of book-writing tourists to visit the Niagara region after the 
exploits of Mackenzie had made it more famous than ever before. 

Bonnycastle (Sir) Richard H. Canada, as it was, is, and may be. 
By Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Richard H. Bonnycastle. Royal Engi- 
neers. With considerable additions, and an account of recent 
transactions by Sir James Edward Alexander, K. L. S., etc. [cut] 
In two volumes. London. 1852. 

8vo. vol i. pp. 

Vol. ii, chap, i ; The occupation of Navy Island ; chaps, ii- v : 
The invasion and subsequent events. 

Bourinot, (Sir) John George. Canada During the Victorian Era. 
Sec Mag. Am. Hist., vol. xvii. pp. 414-424. New York, 1887. 

Bourinot, (Sir) John George. The Story of Canada. [Story of the 
Nations series.] New York. 1896. 

Chap, xxiv: Political Strife and Rebellion, 1815-1840. 

Bourinot (Sir) John G. (K.C.M.G., etc.). Social and economic 
conditions of the British Provinces after the Canadian Rebellions. 
1 838- 1 840. 

Sec Trans. Roy. Soc. Can. 2d ser. vol. vi. [Montreal.] 1900. 

[British Constitutional Society.] Declaration of the views and ob- 
jects of British Constitutional Society on its re-organization, ad- 
dressed to their fellow subjects in Upper Canada. Toronto. 1836. 
Svo. pp. 12. 

A German ed. of the above, as follows: Erklaruug der 
Ansichten und Absiehten der Brittish Constitutionellen Gesell- 
schaft bei ihrer Wieder-Drganization. Addressirt an ihre Mit- 


Unterthanen in Ober Canada. Stadt Berlin — Waterloo — Gore 
Distrikt, O. C. [836. 
8vo. pp. 1 1 . 

British North America. Copies or extracts of correspondence rela- 
tive to the affairs of British North America. . . . London. 1839. 

Folio. Issued by Government. 

Includes correspondence of Sir George Arthur, Lord Glenelg, 

British Policy in Canada, ^1838. 

Quarterly Reviezv, vol. 64, London, 1839. A severe arraign- 
ment of the Government for mismanagement. 

Brougham, (Lord). [Henry Peter Brougham. Baron Brougham and 
Vaux.] Motion calling for returns as to Canadian prisoners and 
as to political offenders being treated as convicts in violation of 
the amnesty. In House of Lords. March 25 and 26, 1839. (Han- 
sard, 3d ser.? vol. 46, pp. 1 1 77 and 1218.) 

Brougham. (Lord). Speech favoring clemency to nine' Canadian 
prisoners who had petitioned the House. June 13, 1839. (Han- 
sard, 3d ser., vol. 48, p. 165.) 

Brougham, (Lord), and others. [Debate over case of Col. Prince, 
charged with executing prisoners without trial. Besides Lord 
Brougham, the Duke of Wellington, the Marquis of Normandy, 
Lord Ellenborough. and Lord Glenelg spoke.] May 30, 1839. 
(Hansard. 3d ser., vol. 47, p. 1078.) 

Brougham. Lord Brougham's speech on the mal-treatment of the 
North American Colonies. London, 1838. 
8vo. pp. 37. 

Reviewed, Quarterly RcviciVj vol. 63, London, 1839. 
Brougham. See also: "Life and Times of Henry, Lord Brougham." 
Bryce, George (LL.D.) 

See his ""Canada from 1763 to 1867," being chap. iii. in vol. viii, 
"Narrative and Critical History of America," ed. Justin Winsor, 
1889; pp. 151-162; bibliographical memoranda on the rebellions 
in Upper and Lower Canada (a few works mentioned, with help- 
ful comment), pp. 180-182. 

Bryce, George (M. A.. LL.lK). A short history of the Canadian 
People. . . . London. . . . 1887. 
I2m<>., pp. vii, 528; folding map. 

Chap, x considers the Family Compact : ch. xi, '"The Rebellion 
and the New Constitution." 

Brymner, Douglas (Archivist). Report on Canadian Archives. 
1 90 1. Ottawa, 1902. 

Contains a calendar of state papers for Lower and Upper 
Canada, including, of the latter, correspondence of Lieut. -Govs. 
Sir J. Colborne and Sir F. I>. Head. 1836: drafts of dispatches 
to Head, 1836; and miscellaneous papers bearing on the discon- 


tent in the Upper Province, and causes leading up to the rebel- 
lion. Among them are characteristic letters of Mackenzie. 

Buchanan, Isaac-. The real state of things in Canada: explained 
in a few rough sketches on financial and other vital matters in 
both the Canadas. By Isaac Buchanan, whose primary object was 
simply to throw light on the question of specie suspension. To 
which are prefixed two articles formerly written by him on the 
Clergv Reserves, [quot. 2 I.] Toronto: Printed for the author. 

Svo. pp. 8, 55. 

Dedicated to Sir F. B. Head. The Clergy Reserves papers 
were first printed in the Toronto Albion. 

Buckingham, James S. Canada, Nova Scotia. New Brunswick, and 
the Other British Provinces in North America, with a plan of 
national colonization. . . . [1843.] 

Chap, iv devotes a few pages to a statement of facts connected 
with the rebellion; Sir Francis Head is criticized for not better 
protecting Toronto. The "Supplementary Chapter,"' pp. 489-513, 
treats of Charles Buller's presentation of colonial colonization, 
that work being practically a sequel to Lord Durham's report, 
and, in its political aspect, referable to the agitation of 37-'38. 
There are minor allusions to the rebellion in Buckingham, but 
little to reward the special inquirer in that subject. 

Bru.ER, Charles. 

Reputed author of Lord Durham's "Report on the Affairs of 
British North America" (London, 1839). See Durham. 

Bury (Viscount). [\Y. C. Keppel.] Exodus of the western nations. 
. . . London, 1S65. 

Vol. ii. chap. 12. treats of the Rebellion losses bill. 

Callahan. James Morton (Ph.D.). The Neutrality of the Ameri- 
can Lakes and Anglo-American Relations. . . . (Johns Hopkins 
Univ. Studies, ser. 16. Nos. 1-4.) Baltimore, 1898. 
8vo. pp. 199. 

Chap. v. "The Canadian Rebellion and Boundary Questions." 
sketches the main incidents of the rebellion, and traces the effect 
of the outbreak upon international proceedings in relation t<> 
armaments on the Lakes; numerous references to U, S. Govt, and 
other publications, especially contemporary newspapers, are help- 
ful to the student bent on further research. 

Canadian (A). See Rev. A. E. Ryerson. 

Canadian Archives. See Douglas Brymner (Archivist). 

Canadian (The) Controversy, its Origin. Nature and Merits. . . . 
London, 1838. 

Canadian (The) Crisi> and Lord Durham's mission to the North 
American Colonies, with remarks, the result of personal observa- 
tion, etc. London, 1838. 
Svo. pp. 56. 


Reviewed, Quarterly Review, vol. 63. London, 1839. 
Canadian (The) Portfolio. Sec John Arthur Roebuck. 
Canniff, William (M. D.). The Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada. 

Pp. 19-36, vol. iii. "Canada, an Encyclopaedia of the Country," 
edited by J. Castell Hopkins, Toronto, 1898. 

Caroline Almanack. Sec William Lyon Mackenzie. 

Caroline, burning of the. 

[Orr, John \Y.?| Pictorial Guide to the Falls of Niagara. 
. . . Buffalo: Press of Salisbury and Clapp. 1842. 

i6mo. pp. xiv. 15-232. 

The work was copyrighted by John W. Orr, who designed and 
engraved the illustrations. He may have written it. Part iii, 
chap. 4. tells the story of the seizure and burning of the Caroline; 
on p. 215 is an engraving of the steamer; as it was made within 
five years of the Navy Island episode, it is presumably a fairly 
true picture of the vessel. 

Sec also, Documents, L\ S. Senate and H. Rep. 
Caroline, The case of. See: 

Winsor's Narrative and Critical History of America, vol. vii, 
p. 494. note; for report of the case. Wendell, xxv, 483; for re- 
view of the decision by Judge Tallmadge, Wendell, xxvi, 663, 
app. ; Calhoun's Works, iii, 618; U. S. Revised Statutes, sec. 752- 
754; Webster"s Works, vi, 292-303. 

Champion. Thomas Edward. History of the 10th Royals and of the 
Royal Grenadiers from the formation of the regiment until 1S96. 
By Thomas Edward Champion. Toronto: 1896. 

Chatham, [pseud.] [The rebellion, and union of the provinces.] 
n. />. 

8vo. pp. 8. 

[Chisholme. David.] [Half-title:] Annals of Canada for 1837 and 
1838. //. p. n. d. [Montreal, 1849?] 
8vo. pp. 156? 

First printed anonymously in the Montreal Gazette. See letter 
regarding its authorship, in Montreal Gazette. Aug. ... 1895, 
which indicates 1849 as the year when the printing of the book 
was begun. Not mentioned by Gagnon ( who does give C's "Ob- 
servations on the rights of the British colonies to representation 
in the Imperial Parliament," etc., Three-Rivers, 1832). nor by 
Sabin or any other bibliographer whose work I have consulted. 
The only copy seen is an incomplete volume in the Toronto Public 
Library. Mr. James Bain, Jr., librarian of that institution, is of 
opinion that the printing of the work was never completed, the 
Toronto copy being inferred to be the gathered sheets as far as 
the work was carried. It i^ obviously one of the greatest rarities 
of all the literature relating to the Niagara region. The narrative 
is well written, the >tory of the Navy Island campaign, the cutting 
out of the Caroline, etc., being given with considerable fullness. 


Claims for losses. Documents relating to claims for losses, &c, 
transmitted by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor. . . . 
Toronto. 1840. 

Appendix to Journal, House of Assembly, I 7 . C, vol. ii, part 
2d, pp. 651-696. 

Includes data of expense of transportation to Van Diemen's 

Clement. \Y. H. P. (B.A., LL.B.) The history of the Dominion of 
Canada. . . . Toronto. . . . 1897. 
limo. pp. vii-i, 350, cuts and maps. 

Chap, xxxiii. Upper Canada, 1815-1837; chap, xxxvii, Out- 
breaks in Canada. 

Clergy Reserves. An act to provide for the sale of the Clergy Re- 
serves in the Province of Canada, and for the distribution of the 
proceeds thereof. . . . Toronto : H. & W. Rovvsell, Diocesan 
Press. 1842. 

8vo. pp. 19. 

Clergy Reserves. An apology for the Church of England in the 
Canadas. in answer to a letter to the Earl of Liverpool, relative 
to the rights of the Church of Scotland &c, by a Protestant of 
the Church of Scotland. By a Protestant of the Established 
Church of England, [quot. _'/.] Kingston: Printed by James 
Macfarlane. 1826. 
8vo. pp. 22. 

Clergy Reserves. By-Laws, of the corporation, for superintending, 
managing and conducting the Clergy Reserves, in Upper Canada. 
York: Printed by Robert Stanton. 1831. 
8vo. pp. 11. 

Clergy Reserves. The Clergy Reserves. A letter from the Lord 
Bishop of Toronto to the Duke of Newcastle, Her Majesty's 
Secretary for the colonies. Toronto: Printed at the "Church- 
man" office, corner of King and Nelson streets MDCCCLIH. 
8vo. pp. 2j. 

Clergy Reserves. Report of a public discussion at Simcoe, on 
Wednesday and Thursday. July 16 and 17, 185 1. on the Clergy 
Reserves and Rectories. Published at Simcoe, X. Co. C. W. 1851. 
8vo. pp. 119. 

Clergv Reserve^. Report of a select committee on, . . . Toronto, 

Appendix to Journal, House of Assembly, L T . C. vol. ii, part 
2d, pp. 737-7.^9- 
Clergy Reserves. Report of select committee on Report of Com- 
mittee of the Whole on the Clergy Reserves. . . . Toronto. 1840. 
Appendix to Journal, House of Assembly. U. C. vol. ii, part 
2d, pp. 794-795- 
Clergy Reserves. The Reserve question ,or a word for the church, 


by one of its clergy, [quot. 2 I.) Printed for the author. 1837. 
8vo. pp. 19. 

Clergy Reserves. See Journals, House of Assembly. U. C. ; Legis- 
lative Council, U. C. 

Clergy Reserves. See also James Beaven, J. C. Dent. Earl of Dur- 
ham. Lord Ellenborongh. Wm. Kirby, Chas. Lindsey, Lord 

Clergy Reserves Distribution. See Journal. House of Assembly. 
U. C, session 1839-40, pp. 155, 159. 164, 168. 

Clergy Reserves Sale bill. See Journal, House of Assembly. U. C, 
session 1839-40, pp. 21, 32, 36, 39. 43- 

Collins. Edmund. See Sir John A. Macdonald. 

Colonist (A) [pseud.] A reply to the report of the Earl of Dur- 
ham. By a Colonist, [quot. 2 /.] London: Richard bentley, 
New Burlington Street. Publisher in ordinarv to Her Majesty. 

8vo. pp. 91. 

Conant. Thomas. L'pper Canada Sketches. By Thomas Conant. 
With illustrations, portraits and map. Toronto: William Briggs. 
29-33 Richmond St. West. 1898. 

8vo. pp. 243. Lithographed plates (21) in colors, 5 portraits, 
map of Ontario east of L. Huron, in tint. 

Chap, vi gives a graphic account of the perilous flight across 
Lake Ontario in the winter of \]/-S of some 40 "patriots" and 
Canadian sympathizers, in the schooner Industry, belonging to the 
author's father; with other episodes of the "war." 

Copies of Extracts of Correspondence relative to the afTairs of Lower 
Canada. Lpper Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Or- 
dered by the House of Commons to be printed, 10th January. 
London, 1838. 

Reviewed, London and Westminster Review, vol. 6 and 2S, 
London, 1837-8. 

Cross, D. W. The Canadian Rebellion of 1837. Mag. West. Hist. 
Cleveland, O., 1888. 

Vol. viii, pp. 359-37°. 5- T -5^9- 

Mr. Cross was deputy I". S. Collector at Cleveland during the 
Canadian rebellion, was "on the inside" of events, and kept a 
journal of all that passed under his observation. His articles are 
not particularly discriminating ( e. g. he speaks of the Caroline 
being >ent "with her dead and wounded over Niagara." etc.). but 
are valuable for details of operations at the west end of Lake Erie, 
and particularly for the organization and work of the "Hunters' 

[Cruikshank. (Lt. Col.) Ernkst.1 A historical and descriptive 
sketch of the Cotintv oi Welland in the Province of Ontario, in 


the Dominion of Canada. . . . Published by authority of the 
County Council. Welland: [Ont.] . . . 1886. 

8vo. pp. 73. 

Pp. 25-31 give a clear, compact statement of the causes of the 
rebellion, and its principal events. 

Crutkshank. (Lt. Col.) Ernest. Some papers of an early settler. 
The rebellion of '37. 

See the Welland (Ont.) Tribune. 1891. A series of article in 
which were first published many letters of historical value, mostly 
written to James Cummings of Chippewa, Ont., in the early years 
of the 19th century: among them contemporary letters relating to 
the Upper Canada Rebellion, by Ch. A. Hasrerman, Dr. Josiah 
Trowbridge. Mayor of Buffalo. Col. Allan N. McNab, Hon. W. H. 
Draper, Chief Justice John Macaulay, Sheriff .Alexander Hamil- 
ton and others. 

[Darling. (Rev.) W. Stewart.] Sketches of Canadian Life, lay and 
ecclesiastical, illustrative of Canada and the Canadian church. 
By a Presbyter of the Diocese of Canada. London: David 
Bogue, Fleet Street. 1849. 
8vo. pp. iv, 310. 

Davin, Nicholas Flood. The Irishman in Canada. London and 
Toronto, 1887. 

8vo. pp. xvi, 692. 

Ch. 9-12. "The Rise of Responsible Government in Canada," 
show the relation of Mackenzie's agitation to other influences 
which combined to overthrow the old state of things and bring 
about responsible government for a united Canada. Traces the 
political evolution of which Mackenzie's rebellion was a part ; but 
gives no details of the occurrences of that abortive uprising. 

For a* review of "The Irishman in Canada," see The Canadian 
Monthly, vol. xii. pp. 660-62. (.1877.) 

Davis, Robert. The Canadian Farmer's Travels in the L nited States 
of America, in which remarks are made on the arbitrary Colonial 
Policy practiced in Canada, and the free and equal rights, and 
happy effect, of the liberal institutions and astonishing enterprise 
of the L nited States. Buffalo [Steele's Press: Printed for the 
author], 1837. 
8vo. pp. 108. 

De Blaouiere, {Hon.) F. B. Copies of letters. &c, read in the Legis- 
lative Council, in the debate upon the Clergy Reserves bill, Jan. 17, 
1840: by the Hon. F. B. De Blaquiere. Toronto: Printed by R. 
Stanton, 164, King-street, MDCCCXL. 
8vo. pp. 30. 
Denison (Capt.) Frederick C. Historical Record of the Governor- 
General's Bodv Guard, and its standing orders. . . . Toronto. 

8vo. pp. 87. 


Chap, ii describes the service of the West York Militia (after- 
wards Governor General's Body Guard ) during 1S37-3S. 

Denison (Lt. Col.) George T. Soldiering in Canada. Recollections 
and Experiences. . . . Toronto. ic,oo. 

Chap. ii. "The Rebellion of 1837," tells of the organization of 
the West York Cavalry (nucleus of the present regiment, the 
Governor General's Body Guard), and its service during the re- 
bellion; the disturbances near Toronto, and the affair of the 

Dent. John Charles. [Engraved title:] The story of the Upper 
Canadian Rebellion. By John Charles Dent, author of "'The Last 
Forty Years." &c. [Vignettes: Vol. i. "'Escape of Mr. Powell"; 
vol. ii. "The Cutting out of the Caroline." | Toronto. Published 
by C. Blackett Robinson. 1885. 

[Type title:] The story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion; 
largely derived from original sources and documents. By John 
Charles Dent, author of "The Last Forty Years," etc. [Quota- 
tions, io /.] Toronto: C. Blackett Robinson, 5 Jordan Street. 

Vol. i. pp. 384. front, port. John Rolph ; port. David Gibson, 
op. p. 279; vol. ii. pp. ?,$2, front, port. \Y. L. Mackenzie, 3 other 

An exceedingly disputatious work, its object to vindicate Dr. 
Roloh at the expense of Mackenzie; its accuracy sometimes sacri- 
ficed for sake of picturesque narrative: the most readable but not 
the most trustworthy history of the rebellion. 

Dent. John Charies. The Last Forty Years. Canada since the 
Union of 1841. Toronto, 1881. 

2 vols. 

In vol. i, chap, i, "Lord Durham." properly belongs to our 
subject (op. p. 16 an engraving, "Destruction of the Caroline"), 
as do chap, iv, "The First Ministry," and chap. viii. "The Case of 
Alexander McLeod." Op. p. 83, port. W. L. Mackenzie. 

De Yealw, S. The Falls of Niagara, or tourist's guide to this won- 
der of nature. . . . By S. De Veaux. Buffalo: William B. 
Hayckn. Press of Thomas & Co. 1839. 

l6mo.. pp. viii. 168. fi] ; map and ills. 

Pp- 77-79- "The expedition to Navy Island, and steamboat 
Caroline." Woodcut, "Burning of the steamboat Caroline." opp. 
P- [47]. 
Document^. L\ S. Senate and Mouse of Representatives. 

Burning of steamboat Caroline. See: 

25th Cong.. 2d session, Mouse docs. vol. 3. Xo. 73, containing 
President Van Buren's message of Jan. 8. 183S. on the disturbance 
on the northern frontier, with related docs.; Sec'y Poinsett to 
Gov. Marcy of X. Y. and Gov. Jennison oi Vermont; Poinsett to 
Gen. Scott, ordering him to the frontier: Sec'y Forsyth to Brit- 
ish Minister Fox, etc. 


25th C, 2d sess., H, vol. 9. No. 302: 63 pages of correspond- 
ence and affidavits relative to destruction of the Caroline; in- 
formation called for 1>y resolution of the House, Mar. 21. [838; 
statement of claims for losses, etc.; with a long report from Lt. 
Gov. Head to Henry S. Fox, British Minister at Washington, 
dated Toronto. Jan. 8, 1838. 

25th C.j 3d sess., H, vol. 4. No. 183: Correspondence between 
A. Stevenson. U. S. Minister in London, and Lord Palmerston, 
Sec"y of State tor Foreign Affairs, relating to the outrage by 
British troops, with an analysis of the principles involved in the 
contest between Great Britain and the Canadas. 

26th C, 2d sess., 11, vol. 2. Xo. ^,7,: Correspondence between 
the Secretary of State and the British Minister, in the Caroline 

26th C, 2d sess., H. reports. Xo. 162. 

27th C, 2d sess., H, vol-. 3, Xo. 128. 

27th C, 3d sess., Senate, vol. 3. Xo. 99. 

Frontier disturbances, American citizens' participation in, iSjS. 

25th C, 2d sess., H. vol. 2, Xo. 64: Message from President 
Van Bttren to Senate and House, Jan. 5. '38. transmitting letter 
from X. Garrow, L T . S. Marshal, Xorthern Dist., dated Buffalo, 
Dec. 28, '37. 

25th C, 2d sess., H, vol. 3. Xo. 74: Correspondence, Fox to 
Forsyth; Lt. Gov. Head to F^ox. dated Government Hou>c, To- 
ronto, Dec. 2T>, 1837: "The peace and securitv of this Province 
are at this moment threatened, and its territory is actually in- 
vaded, by a large band of American citizens from Buffalo." etc.; 
an interesting recital. Other docs, include letters from Buffalo's 
mayor, J. Trowbridge, to Millard Fillmore, then Representative, 
and to President Van Buren ; Pierre A. Barker. Collector at 
Buffalo, to X. S. Benton. U. S. Atty. ; \V. K. Scott to Fillmore; 
Seymour Scoville, Collector at Lewiston. to Benton; Levi Wood- 
bury, Secy, of the Treasury, to Daniel Dobbins, commanding the 
U. S. revenue cutter Erie; etc., etc.; showing the strenuous ef- 
forts made by L T . S. officers to enforce the laws and prevent of- 
fense against Canada. 

25th C. ^\ sess., H, vol. 4. No. 181: A collection of corre- 
spondence of great value to the historian of this suoject. Among 
the docs, are letters from Sec'y of War Poinsett : Ma.i. Gen. 
Macomb to Sir John Colborne, and Com. oandon, commanding 
British naval forces on the Lakes, one letter dated Buffalo, Sept. 
16, 1838; also Gen. Scott's famous communication to Ceil. 
Hughes, commanding British troops, dated Buffalo, Jan. 15. 1S38; 
another. "Headquarters, Eastern Div. I". S. army, 2 miles below 
Black Rock. Jan. 15, 1838, " to the officer in command of British 
vessels on the Xiagara ; numerous other letters from Scott; Brig. 
Gen. John E. Wool. Champlain ; W. J. Worth. Lt. Col. com'ndg, 
Buffalo. Feb. 24, 1838; Lt. Gov. George Arthur (U. Can.) to 
Gen. H. Brady, regarding Hunters' Lodges, etc.; W. H. Draper 
to Lt. Col. J. M. Strut-hern, dated Hamilton, I'. C Mch. 11, 1838; 


and account of the court of inquiry at Fort Erie rapids. Feb. 17, 

25th C. 2d sess., H, vol. 5, No. 89: Sec'y of War Poinsett's 

estimates (Jan. 10. 1838) for defence of northern frontier; he 
thought $625,500 would he needed. 

25th C. 3d sess., H, vol. 2. No. 2- : Transmits letter from 
Scott to the Sec'y of War asKing for $12,000 or $20,000 for secret 
service use: "It twice happened hist winter that British officers 
sent over to me persons who had important intelligence to com- 
municate relative to the movements of 'patriots' within our limits, 
and for which 1 had neither the authority or the means to pay," 

Sir Robert Peel, British steamboat, outrages committed on, 

25th C, 2d sess., Sen., vol. n, No. 440. 

Telegraph, American steamboat,' outrages committed on, 1838. 

25th C. 2d sess.. Sen., vol. II, No. 440. 

Van Diemen's Land, American citizens prisoners in. 

27th C. 1st sess., H, docs, and reports, No. 39. 

Draper. William Henry. [Letters on the rebellion in the Upper 
Province.] See Lt. Col. Ernest Cruikshank. 

In 1838 Mr. Draper became solicitor general of Upper Canada, 
and later, attorney general. He was not in favor of many of the 
reforms introduced into the system of government of the British- 
American colonies subsequent to the rebellion of 1837-X In 1863, 
he became chief notice of Upper Canada. 

Drew [Andrew] (Rear Admiral). A narrative of the capture and 

destruction of the steamer 'Caroline' and her descent over the 

Falls of Niagara on the night of the 29th of December, 1837. 

With* a correspondence. [For private circulation.] London, 1864. 

8vo. pp. 31. 

Duncanxon (Viscount). [John William Ponsonby.] Motion that 
papers relating to the Clergy Reserves be laid before the House. 
In House of Lords, Mch. 31, 1840. (Hansard, 3d ser., v. 53. p. 

The Bishop of Exeter spoke at length in support of Duncan- 
non's motion, and a hot debate ensued, in which Viscount Mel- 
bourne, several prelates, the Duke of Wellington. Lord Ellen- 
borough and others took part. 

Durand. Charles. Reminiscences of Charles Durand of Toronto, 
Barrister. Toronto: The Hunter. Rose Co., Ltd., Printers and 
Bookbinders. 1897. 

1 2mo. pp. xii. 534 [[]. Ports. 

2d ed. the same with Addenda, pp. 537-663. 

Chaps, x-xiii relate in large part to the rebellion. The author 
(still living in Toronto), a Reformer, but disclaiming affiliation 
with the rebels, was arrested Dec. 7. 1837, imprisoned rive months: 
tried May 8, 1838; finally released Aug. 14, 1838. and banished 


from Canada for six years, lie brought his family to Buffalo, 
where he resided for a year and a halt, tuning thence to Chicago. 
In chap, xxii he rc-latcs incidents of the Navy Island affair, Hun- 
ters' Lodges, etc. A rambling, disjointed narrative, a marvel of 
bad arrangement and ineffective use of good material. 

Durham (Earl). [John George Lambton.] Report on the affairs 
of British North America, from the Earl of Durham. Her Ma- 
jesty's High Commissioner, &:., &c, &c. (Presented by Her 
Majesty's command.) Ordered, by the House of Commons, to 
be printed, u February, 1839. 

Folio, pp. iv, 119 [1] ; appendix (A) (title page repeated): 
misc. docs., letters, addresses, etc.. pp. [2], 62 [2]. Appendix (B) 
(title page repeated: "ordered printed 5 March 1839"); com- 
mission by the Earl of Durham appointing Charles Buller to make 
inquiries regarding Crown lands in Lower Canada, pp. 4: report 
on public lands and immigration in Lower and Upper Canada, 
and other provinces, by Charles Buller. pp. 40: minutes of evi- 
dence, pp. 218. Appendix (C) (title page repeated: '"ordered 
. . . printed 2y March. 1839") : reports of commissioners on 
municipal institutions of Lower Canada, pp. 60. Appendix (D) 
and (E) (title page repeated: "ordered printed 12 June 1839") : 
relating to lower Canada, pp. iv, 214. 

Of the many editions of this, the most important government 
publication relating to our subject, this is in all ways the best. 
The voluminous appendices, bearing in part upon our region, are 
omitted from the reprints. 

Although the Report bears Durham's name, it was charged 
at the time that he had never read it. much less written it. Its 
actual author was Charles Buller. Two paragraphs on the church 
lands were written by Edward Gibbon Wakerield and Richard 
Davies Hanson. 

Durham. The report and dispatches of the Earl of Durham, 
Her Majesty's High Commissioner and Governor-General of 
British North America. London : Ridgwavs, Piccadillv. 
8vo. pp. xvi, 423. 
A new ed. London: Methuen, 1901. 

Durham. Report on the affairs of British North America from the 
Earl of Durham. Her Majesty's High Commissioner, &c. &c. &c. 
(officially communicated to both Houses of the Imperial Parlia- 
ment, on the nth of February. 1839). Montreal: Printed at the 
Morning Courier office, St. Francois Xavier Street, 1839. 
8vo. pp. 126 [1]. 

Durham. Report on the affairs of British North America from the 
Earl of Durham. Her Majesty's High Commissioner, *xc. &c. &c. 
Officially communicated to both Houses of the Imperial Parlia- 
ment on the nth of February, 1839. Toronto. Printed at the 
Examiner office, 1839. 
8vo. pp 48. 


Durham. Report on the affairs of British North America, from the 
Earl of Durham, Her Majesty's High Corhmissioner. &c. &c. &c. 

1'oronto: Printed by Robert' Stanton. MDCCCXXXIX. 

8vo. pp. 142, iv. 

The last 4 pp. (table of contents) sometimes bound in front, 
sometimes at the back. An ed. seldom met with. 

Durham. Correspondence between Her Majesty's principal Secre- 
tary of State for the Colonies and the Earl of Durham, on the 
subject of the latter's resignation of the office of Governor 
General of British North America and High Commissioner in the 
Canadian provinces. Transmitted to Sir George Arthur. By or- 
der of the House of Assembly. Toronto. \Y. J. Coates, printer. 

Durham. Debate on the reception and premature publication of his 
report as Governor General of the North American provinces. 
In House of Lords. Feb. 8 and 11, 1839. (Hansard. 3d ser., vol. 
45. pp. 192 and 2c6. ) 

Durham. Sec also Head and Durham. 

Durham. Report from the select committee of the Legislative Coun- 
cil of Upper Canada, on the report of the Rt. Honourable the 
Earl of Durham. Her Majesty's late governor-in-chief of British 
North America. Printed by order of the honourable the Legis- 
lative Council. R. Stanton, printer to the Queen's most excellent 

8vo. pp. 23. 

It pointedly discusses the causes of the rebellion. "1 lie prox- 
imity of the American frontier — the wild and chimerical notions 
of civil government broached and discussed there — the introduc- 
tion of a very great number of border Americans into this prov- 
ince, as settlers who. with some most respectable and worthy ex- 
ceptions, formed the bulk of the reformers, who carried these 
opinions so far as disaffection — together with the existence of 
actual rebellion — emboldened a portion ^i tlie minority to rise in 
rebellion in this province, in the hope of achieving the overthrow 
of the government with foreign assistance." — Pp. 21-22. J. S. 
Macaulay was chairman of the committee making the report. 

Durham. Sec Annual Register, 1838. chron. pp. 311-17; Pari. 
Papers. 1837-8. xxxix; 1839, xvii. 5-H9. Pari. Debates. 3d ser.. 
vol. xliv. 

Durham. Sec also J. C. Dent. Sir F. B. Head. Sir Francis Hincks, 
VVm. Kingsford. Charles Lindsey, Goldwin Smith, Lord Syden- 

[Elliot. T. F. ?] The Canadian Controversy: its origin, nature, and 
merits. [quot. cV/.] London: Printed for Longman, Orme. 
Brown, Green & Longman. Paternoster-Row. 1838. 
Svo. pp. 84. 

Attributed to T. F. Elliot Assistant Secretary of State for the 
Colonies. Of distinct value; it sketches the history of Canada 


from the Conquest to the Grievances of 182S. with a review of 
subsequent events; it points out inaccuracies in Roebuck's Port- 

Ellenborough, (Loni) [Edward Law. _>d baron E.] and others. 
Further debate on action of the Judges on the Clergy Reserves 
question. April 10. 1840. (Hansard, 3d ser., v. 53, p. 957.) 

The Clergy Reserves hill passed the House of Lords on third 
and final reading- August 6, 1840. ( Hansard. 3d ser.. v. 55, p. 
1 357-^ I be royal assent was given August 7, 1840. (Hansard. 
3d ser., v. 55, p. 1378.) The bill for the union of the two Can- 
adas parsed the House of Lords on the third and final reading 
July 13. 1840. The Duke of Wellington and Lord Ellenborough 
presented long and strong protests which were ordered to he en- 
tered in the Journal. (Hansard, 3d ser., v. 55, u. 66 2. ) The 
royal assent was given July 23, 1840. ( Hansard, 3d ser., v. 55, 
p. 903. ) 

English (An) Farmer, [pseud.] British Freedom. By an English 
Farmer: a member of the Church of England: an advocate for 
civil and religious liberty: and a lover of good government: 
whose father was a high churchman. Printed for and published 
by the author. York. Upper Canada. Colonial Advocate Press. 
J. Baxter, printer. 1832. 
8vo. pp. 23. 

Erie County. X. Y. Sec Crisfield Johnson: H. Perry Smith (ed.)\ 
Truman C. White fed.). 

Exeter, (Bishop of). [Henry Phillpotts.] Speech in support of 
motion to submit Questions relating to the Clergy Reserves to the 
Judges. In House of Lords. April. 7. 1840. (Hansard, 3d ser.. 
v. 53> P- 626. ) 

The long debate is given ; motion was carried. 

Family Compact (The). See George Bryee, John C. Dent, Earl of 
Durham. Rev. \\ m. P. Greswell, J. X. Lamed (cd.), John Mac- 
Mullen. Goldwin Smith. 

FitzGibbon. [James]. Documents, selected from several others, 
showing the services rendered by Colonel FitzGibbon, while 
serving in L'pper Canada, between the years 1812 and 1837. 
Windsor: Printed by W. Whittington. Peascod Street, 1859. 
8vo. pp. 15. 

Addressed to Lord Stanley by Augustus D'Este. Undertakes 
to show that Col. FitzGibbon saved L'pper Canada from falling 
into the hands of the rebels. 

FitzGibbon, James. An appeal to the People of L'pper Canada. 
. . . 1847' 

Xot seen; cited by Mary Agnes FitzGibbon in "A Veteran of 
1812," p. 186: "FitzGibbon wrote several accounts of the out- 
break of the rebellion in Upper Canada, and of Mackenzie's in- 
tended (attempted) attack en Toronto in December. 1837. 'An 
Appeal to the People of l'pper Canada." published in 1847, is 


perhaps the most exhaustive as regards his own share in the de- 
fence of the city. The 'Appeal' was written after successive 
events had robbed him of the reward voted to him by the unan- 
imous voice of the House of Assembly." 

FitzGibbon, James. A Veteran of 1812. The life of James 
FitzGibbon. By Mary Agnes FitzGibbon. Toronto. . . . 

121110. pp. viii, 9-347, [1]. 111. and 2 fac-simile letters. 
Pp. 159-257 relate principally to the rebellion and FitzGibbon's 
loyal activity during that period. 

FitzGibbon, Mary Agnes. Sec James FitzGibbon. 
Fothesgill, Charles. [Pamphlet. 1838.] 

Not seen. Cited in Chas. Lind>ey's "Life and Times of Wm. 
Lyon Mackenzie," vol. ii. p. 59. 

Freeholder, [pseud.] "Should Lord Durham be impeached?" The 
question considered in an appeal to the electors of the House of 
Commons. By a Freeholder. London : Printed for Sherwood, 
Gilbert & Piper, Paternoster Row, 1839. 
8vo. pp. 2^. 

Fry. Alfred A. Report of the case of the Canadian prisoners; with 
an introduction on the writ of habeas corpus. By Alfred A. Fry, 
Esq., of Lincoln's Inn, one of the counsel in the case. London: 
A. Maxwell, ^2, P>ell Yard, Lincoln's Inn. law bookseller to His 
Late Majesty. And Milliken and Son, Dublin. MDCCCXXXIX. 
8vo. pp. vi. ic6. 

On Dec. 17, 1838. twelve prisoners were taken (with others) 
to Liverpool, charged in execution of a sentence of transportation 
to Van Diemen's Land, for having been concerned in [he Cana- 
dian revolt. Among these was Linus W. Miller of Fredonia. 
The constitutional features of the cases are presented at length. 

Garxeau. F. X. ( Andrew Pell, trans.) History of Canada from the 
time of its discovery till the Union year 1840-41. . . . Mon- 
treal. . . . [2d cd.] ' 1862. 

2 vols.. 8vo; vol. i, pp. xviii, 556, map and front.; vol. ii, 
pp. xiv, 409. 

Treats fully of the rebellion in Lower Canada, meagerly oi 
that in the upper province. 

Gates. William. Recollections of life in Wan Dieman's Land; by 
William Gates: one of the Canadian Patriots. [motto, 2 L] 
Lockport: 1). S. Crandall. printer; office of the Lockport Daily 
Courier. 1850. 

i6mo. pp. 231. 

Sec fac-simile of title-page herewith. 

Gates joined a Hunters' Lodge at Cape Vincent in November, 
\^7, was taken prisoner on the St. Lawrence after the battle of 
the Windmill, near Prescott, was sentenced to exile and sent out 
to Van Diemen's Land in the prison-ship Buffalo. He gives a 







'A good mao commendein ni& cause to Me one great Patron of Inno- 
cence, convinced of justice at the last, and sure of good meanwhile. 






vivid account of hi- life in the island, as convict, ticket-of-leave 
man and farm overseer, receiving his pardon in Sept. 1845. He 
arrived home in 1848 — having worked for a time in Australia — 
and after a visit at Cape Vincent came to Wilson, Niagara Co.. 
where his sifter lived, and where he appears to have written his 
book, the preface of which is dated Wilson, N. V., April, 1850. 
His narrative much resembles that of Robert Marsh (q. v.) in its 
detail of life in Van Dieman's Land. 

Glexelg, (Lord) [Charles Grant]. Reply to Lord Ripon's parlia- 
mentary inquiry of same date. In House of Lords, Jan. 16, 1838. 
(Hansard, 3d ser., vol. 40. p. 7.) Same subject. Jan. 18, 1838. 
(Same vol. p. 162. ) 

Glexelg. A despatch from the Right Honorable Lord Glenelg, His 

Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, to His Excellency 
Sir Francis Bond Head. Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, 
containing His Majesty's answer to the separate addresses and 
representations which proceeded from the Legislative Council and 
Hou-e of Assembly during the fir-t session of the present Parlia- 
ment : and his instructions to the Lieutenant Governor communi- 
cated to the House of Assembly by message on the 30th of Janu- 
ary. 1836. Ordered by the House of Assembly to be printed. To- 
ronto : M. Reynolds. 1836. 
8vo. pp. 36- 

Glexelg. Lord Glenelg's Despatches to Sir F. B. Head, Bart. Dur- 
ing his administration of the government of Upper Canada. Ab- 
stracted from the papers laid before Parliament. London: James 
Ridgway and Sons. Piccadilly, 1839. 

8vo. pp. iv, 193. [1, advts. 4.] 

Covers the period Dec. 5, 1835. to July 29. 1837; treats of the 
Executive Council, petitions, removals from office. Clergy Re- 
serves, the insurrectionary movement, loyalty of the militia, etc. 
An authoritative and valuable source of information on .the prob- 
lems involved in the rebellion. 

Grant, George Muxro. The Dominion of Canada. 
Scribner's Monthly, vol. xx. 1880. 

In the June No., pp. 244-245, the rebellion is touched upon, as 
incidental to the political history of Canada. 

Greswell (Rev.) William Pakr. History of the Dominion of Can- 
ada. . . . Oxford. . . . 1890. 

i2mo. pp. xxxi, 339. maps. 

Chap. xvi. Events 1814-1837. the Papineau revolt; chap. xvii. 

Lord Durham's Report; p. 171. the Clergy Reserve- grievances— 

a very clear statement. 

Gr::v [Charles] (Earl). The colonial policy of Lord John Russell's 

administration. . . . 2(1 ed.. with additions. London. . . . 1853. 

In the form of a series of letters to Lord John Russell, by the 
Secretary of State for the Colonial Department. Vol. i. letter v. 
pp. 200-273- treats of the political change- arising from the Re- 
bellion, the Clcrgv Reserves, the Act of Union, etc. 



Grey. (Sir) Charles Edward. Speech opposing union of the two 
Canadas. July n. 1839. (Hansard, 3d ser., v. 49, p. 157.) 

Sir Robert Peel. Lord John Russell, and others also spoke at 
length, the general subject being the pending bill for the govern- 
ment of Lower Canada. The bill passed July iS, 1839, by 100 

Haddock. John A. A Souvenir. The Thousand Islands of the St. 
Lawrence River from Kingston and Cape Vincent to Morristown 

and B rocky ille, with their recorded history from the earliest 
times. . . . Published by Jno. A. Haddock, of Watertown, X. Y., 
. . . Alexandria P>ay. X. Y. 1895. 

4to, ill and maps, pp. 416. 

Burning of the steamer Sir Robert Peel, and battle of the 
Windmill, p, 14: "The 'Patriot' War," pp. 156-163 (reprint from 
Haddock's "'History of Jefferson County, X. Y." 

Haliburton, T[homas] C[handler]. (Sam Slick, pseud). The 
Bubbles of Canada. . . . London. . . . 1839. 
. . . London. . . . 1839. 

8vo. pp. [vi], 332. 

[Haliburton. T. C] Rule and Misrule of the English in America. 
Halifax. 1843. 

2 vols. 

An ed. X. Y.. 1851. 

Treats briefly of the rebellion in its political aspect only. 

Haliburton'. T. C. Replv to the report of the Earl of Durham. 
. . . Halifax. 1839. 

Hansard's Parliamentary Debates. Sec Speeches and Debates, Brit- 
ish Parliament. 

Harper's Encyclopaedia of United States History, Xew York, 1902. 

Article "Canada." in vol. ii, pp. 47-48. 

Harvard (Rez\) W. M. Remarks and suggestions, respectfully of- 
fered, on that portion of the Clergy Reserve property, (landed 
and funded.) in Upper Canada "not specifically appropriated to 
any particular church." In a letter addressed to His Excellency 
Sir George Arthur. K. C. B., Governor and commander-in-chief. 
&c. &c. &c. By the Rev. \Y. M. Harvard, late president of the 
Wesleyan-Methodist Church, in Upper Canada. Quebec: Printed 
and sold by William Xeilson, Gazette office . . . 1838. 
8vo. pi). 45. 

Head. (Sir) Francis Bond (Bart.). An address to the House of 
Lords, agaiti.-t the hill before , Parliament for the union of the 
Canadas; and disclosing the improper means by which the con- 
sent of the Legislature ui the upper province has been obtained 
to the measure. By Sir Francis Bond Head. Bart. [//.] Lon- 
don: John Murray. Albemarle Street. 1840. 
8vo. pp. [2], ?2. 


Head, (Sir) Francis B[ond] (Bart.). The Emigrant. By Sir 
Francis B. Head. I *> a r t . [motto, 2 1.\ Fifth edition. London: 
John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1847. 

1 21110. pp. 441. 

3d London ed. 1846. 

For an admiring review of "The Emigrant" see the Quarterly 
Rcz'ieii', vol. jS (London, 1846) : "From this the Macaulay of an- 
other day will draw the minute circumstances which preserve the 
very form and image of the past." In a very different vein is the 
paper in the Edinburgh Reviezv, vol. 85 ( 1847) in which "The 
Emigrant" is reviewed at length: "Sir Francis does not omit to 
direct our attention to what he regards a^ the great deeds, of his 
colonial administration. The first part of tnis heroic poem tells 
the defense of Toronto against Mackenzie; an episode is the 
driving Mr. Bidwell out of the province. The second part con- 
tains the war of Navy Island, and the destruction of the Caro- 
line. The third is the Odyssey of Head — his return home through 
countless perils in the United States," etc. [p. 365.] The writer 
of the review gives a version of events as given to him by T. J. 

Head (Sir) Francis B. (Bart.) A Narrative. By Sir i-rancis B. 
Head. Bart, [motto. _'/.) London: John Murray, Albemarle 

Second ed. : 8vo. pp. viii, 4S8, [appendix A and B:] 38. 

Appendix B is a reprint of "Addresses to Sir Francis B. Head, 
Bart., from the Legislatures of the British Nortli American Col- 
onies," etc., Toronto, 1838. See Addresses. 

Head and Durham. [Inner title:] A Narrative, by Sir Francis 
Bond Head. Bart. [quot. J I.} Second edition. London: John 
Murray, Albemarle Street. Printed by order of the Canadian 
Flouse of Assembly. Toronto: R. Stanton. 164 King Street. 

[Inner title:] Report on the Affairs of British North America 
from the Earl of Durham. ... 

App. to Jour. House of Assembly, U. C, Sess. 1839. Vol. i. 

Fol. pp. viii, 160; sup. chap. Head's "Narrative" (being preface 
to the 3d ed. ). vi. iq [1] ; appendix A (mem. on above) 6; "Ad- 
dresses, Toronto. 1838." 18; Durham's Report. 107. [1] ; report 
from the select committee appointed to report on the state of the 
province. 111-141; contents [3]. 

The most elaborate and most valuable Canadian publication of 
Durham's "Report." Head's "Narrative" and related documents. 
Sec also F. B. Head. 

Head. F. B. Communication, from the Honorable the Executive 
Council to the Lieutenant Governor, with His Excellency's reply. 
Toronto: R. Stanton. Printer to the King's most excellent 
Majesty. [1836.] 
8vo. pp. 20. 

Relates to the duties of the Executive Council, which was one 
of the chief objects of attack by the reformers. 


Head, F. P>. Message from His Excellency Sir Francis Bond Head. 
Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, in answer to the address 
of the House of Assembly, of the 5th February, 1836, with sundry 
documents, requested by the House in said address. Ordered by 
the House of Assembly to be printed. Toronto: M. Reynolds. 

Svo. pp. 42. 

Head, F. B. Message from his excellency the Lieutenant Governor, 
of 30th January, 1836: Transmitting a despatch from his majes- 
ty's government. Printed by order of the honorable the legisla- 
tive council. R. Stanton, printer. I1836.J 
8vo. pp. 50. 

Head. F. B. The >peeches. messages, and replies of his excellency 
Sir Francis Bond Head, K. C. H.. Lieutenant Governor of Upper 
Canada. Accompanied by an extract from a despatch of his ex- 
cellency to Lord Glenelg: Together with introductory remarks, 
and a brief biographical sketch. [quot. 3 /.] Toronto, U. C. 
Henry Rowsell. 1836. 
Svo. pp. 72. 

Head. Rede seiner Excellenz, Sir Francis Bond Head, Lieutenant 
Gouverneurs der Provinz Ober Canada; gahalten zu Toronto, 
den JCNten April. 1836, an den gefezgebenden Korper der besagten 
Provinz. Stadt Berlin, (Gore Distrikt) Ober Canada: Gedruckt 
bei H. \V. Peterson, 1836. 
8vo. pp. 16. 

Head. Critical review of Sir Francis Head's Narrative and of Lord 
Durham's Report, by the London Quarterly Rcviczi', for April, 
1839. Printed at the Patriot office — Toronto — 1839. 
Svo. pp. 32. 

Head. Important debate on the adoption of the report of the select 
committee on the differences between riis Excellency and the 
late Executive Council : in the House of Assembly, April iSth, 
1836. Toronto, U. C. Joseph H. Lawrence, printer. Guardian of- 

8vo. pp. 63. 

Relates in part to the famous case of Forsyth of the Niagara 
Pa 1 1 s Pavilion. 

Head. Proceedings had in the Commons House of Assembly, on 
the subject of an address to His Excellency Sir F. B. Head, for 
certain information on the affair- of the colony. Printed by order 
of the Commons House of Assembly. R. Stanton, printer. [1836.] 
Records the proceedings, Feb. y\, 4th, 5th. consequent on 
Mackenzie's motion of an address for information on the re- 
moval of the late attorney and solicitor general, of the present 
incumbent of those offices, expulsions, etc.; also gives data in the 
Forsyth ca>e. 

Head, biography of. Sec "Canada, an Encyclopaedia of the Coun- 
try," etc. (J. Castell Hopkins, cd.), vol. iii. pp. 90-97- 


Head and Colonial office. Sec Westminster Rci'ieiv, v. 32, p. 426. 
Headley. J. T. See VVinfield Scott and Andrew Jackson. 
Henry, Walter. Events of a Military Life. . . . London, 1843. 
2 vols., 8vo. ; vol. i. pp. xii, 301 ; vol. ii, pp. x, 384. 
The greater part of vol. ii is devoted to the troubles in, Upper 
Canada. 1827-39. The work is really the 2(\ ed.. rewritten and 
enlarged, of the following scarce and anonymous publication: 

[Henry, Walter.] Trifles front my portfolio, or Recollections of 
scenes and small adventures during twenty-nine years' military 
service in the Peninsular War . . . and Upper and Lower 
Canada. By a staff surgeon. Quebec, 1839. 

The author gives a good account of Mackenzie's insurrection, 
the operations on Navy Island and the burning of the Caroline. 

[Heustis (Capt.) Daniel D.] A Narrative of the adventures and 
sufferings of Captain Daniel D. Heustis and his companions, in 
Canada and Van Dieman's Land, during a long captivity; with 
travels in California, and voyages at sea. Boston: Puhlished for 
Redding & Co., by Silas W. 'Wilder & Co. 1847. 

i-'mo. pp. vi, 168. Front, woodcut "View of the Battle of Pres- 
cott." 'Jdie original front paper cover hears a likeness of Capt. 
Heustis, front a daguerreotype. An introduction, "The Canadian 
Movement," 8 pages, by Benj. Kingshury, Jr. 

Hincks (Sir) Francis. Reminiscences of his public life by Sir 
Francis Hincks, K. C. M. G., C. B. Montreal, 1884. 

Chap. ii. The crisis of 1836 and its consequences: chap, iv, 
Responsible government ; chap. v. First session of the Union 
Parliament. The reminiscences begin in the rebellion year oi 
1837. The author founded the Examiner (Toronto), in July. "37 
(buying his press and type in Buffalo), to be the exponent of the 
views of the Reformers of Upper Canada. In his office many 
of the political pamphlets of the day. noted in this li^t. were 
printed. The motto of the Examine)- was at first '"Responsible 
Government." to which was later added, "and the Voluntary 

Hollev. George W. Niagara: It> history and geology, incidents 
and poetry. . . . New York City. . . . 1872. 

i2mo., pp. xii, 165; map and ill. 

Another ed., revised and enlarged. "The Falls of Niagara, 
with supplemental chapters." etc.. N. Y., 1883. Contains a short 
account of the burning of the Caroline. 

Horton, William H. (editor). Geographical Gazetteer of Jeffersi n 
County. N. Y. 1684-1800. Edited by William H. Horton. Com- 
piled and published bv Hamilton Child. . . . Syracuse, N. Y. 
. . . 1890. 

8vo. part first (as above),, pp. 887. Part second, ''Business Di- 
rectory . . . ," pp. 345- 

In it> historical .sketches of the several towns., numerous inci- 
dents of the disturbances of '?>7-'3$ are given. 


Hough. Franklin B. A History of Jefferson County in the State 
of New York from the earliest period to the present time. By 
Franklin B. Hough, A. XL, M. I). Author of the history of St. 
Lawrence and Jefferson counties, and corresponding member of 
the New York Historical Society, [cut of seal.] Albany: Joel 
Munsell, ;S State St. VVatertown, X. Y. : Sterling & Riddell, 

8vo. pp. 60 1 . 

Chap. xiv. "Events of 1837-40": The bummer of the Caroline; 
affair of Hickory Island; burning of the Feel; affair at Prescott ; 
attempt to burn the Great Britain; the so-called Patriot's bank; 
Hunters' Lodges, etc. 

Hough. Franklin B. A history of St. Lawrence and Franklin. 
Counties, New York, from the earliest period to the present time. 
By Franklin B. Hough, A. M., M. D., corresponding member of 
the New York Historical Society. Albany: Little & Co., 53 State 
Street. 1853. 

8vo. pp. xv, 719. 

Chap, x, "The Patriot War of 1837-1840" (pp. 656-674). re- 
views the Caroline affair; but gives with greater fullness the 
history of the burning of the British steamer Sir Robert Peel, at 
Wells Island, Jefferson Co.. X. Y., May 30. 1838, and other events 
of the war on the St. Lawrence; with a list of the persons taken 
at the Windmill and tried at Kingston. 

Hume, Joseph. The celebrated letter of Joseph Hume, M. P., to 
William Lyon Mackenzie, Esq., Mayor of Toronto, declaratory of 
a design to "Free the<e provinces from the baleful domination of 
the Mother Country!" With the comments of the press of Upper 
Canada on the pernicious and treasonable tendency of that letter, 
and the speeches, resolutions and amendments of the Common 
Council of this city, which were the result of a motion of that 
body to disavow all participation in the sentiments of Mr. Flume. 
[quot. 4 L] Toronto: Published and printed by G. T. Bull, at 
the Recorder and General Printing office, Market-House, 1834. 
Price one shilling and three-pence. 
8vo. pp. 64. 

Flu. me, Joseph. Speech in House of Commons. May 18, 1838. 
(Hansard, 3d sen, vol. 42, p. 1362.) 

Hume. Joseph. Motion calling for all the Head correspondence and 
speech attacking Sir Francis Bond Head. In House of Commons, 
March 5, 1839/ (Hansard, 3d ser.. vol. 45, p. 1312.) 

Hume. Joseph. Inquiry as to the reported execution by Col. Prince 
of prisoners brought in by Indians. In House of Commons, 
March 2j. 1839. < Hansard, ^d ser., vol. 46, p. 1222.) 

Hunt. J. An adventure on a frozen lake. A tale of the Canadian 
Rebellion of 1837-8. Cincinnati, 1853. 
8vo. pp. 46. 


Hunters' Lodges, legislative steps to procure information concerning. 
sec Journal. Mouse of Assembly. U. C, session 1839-40, pp. 28. 

53. 68, 87, 90. 109. 110. 

Hunters' Lodges. Sec 1). \V. Cross. 

Important public documents relative to the resignation of the execu- 
tive councillors. Toronto: Guardian office — J. H. Lawrence. 
Printer, 1838. 

8vo. pp. 8 (2 cols, to the page). 

Incus, (Sir) R[obert Harry]. Parliamentary inquiry as to the case 

of the American ship Caroline. In Mouse of Commons, Feb. 2. 
1838. (Hansard. 3d ser.. vol. 40. p. 715.) 

Jameson (Mrs.) [Anna Brownell (Murphy)]. Winter Studies and 
Summer Rambles in Canada. By Mrs. Jameson. ... In two 
volumes. Vol. i [ii]. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 161 
Broadway. 1839. 

121110. vol. :, pp. viii, [2], 10-341 ; vol. ii. pp. iv, 339. 

A German ed. Braunschweig, 1839. 3V. 

Vol. i. Clergy Reserves, pp. 2^-t,2\ politics and parties, 75-78; 
Constitution of Upper Canada, prorogation of the House of As- 
sembly, acts of legislature in '37. pp. 105-120. Airs. Jameson was 
in Toronto, at Niagara, etc., in the rebellion years of 1837-8. but 
writes only of the political and social disturbance, evidently seeing 
nothing of the report to arms. The topics here cited are omitted 
from the reprint of a part of the "Winter Studies" printed in 
1862 under the title "Sketches in Canada and Rambles among the 
Red Men." 

Johnson, CkisFiEi.D. Centennial History of Erie County. New 
York: being its annals from the earliest recorded events to the 
hundredth year of American Independence. By Crisfield Johnson. 
Buffalo. N. Y. Printing house of Matthews & Warren. Office of 
the "Buffalo Commercial Advertiser." 1876. 

8vo. pp. 512. 

Chap, xxxvi, pp. 413-426, "The Patriot War." etc. A good 
general sketch, particularly in regard to events connected with 
the rebellion on the American side of the border; military or- 
ganization in Buffalo, origin of the Buffalo City Guard, etc. 

Journal of the House of Assemble of Upper Canada. . . . Toronto. 
z;. d. 

[Bills relative to the Rebellion:] (The dates in parenthesis in- 
dicate the year of the journal: the figures following, the page of 
that journal on which the lull is printed. Titles of bills are ab- 

To prevent the return to the province, of absconders to the 
United States, and to deprive them of civil, military and political 
rights. ( 1837-8) 107. Committed. 153. Not reported. 

To repay moneys advanced for militia service during the re- 
bellion. (J837-8) 234. Not presented. 


To extend conditional pardons to those concerned in the re- 
bellion. (1837-8) 348-; amended 349, and passed, ib; amendments 
agreed to by Conned. 384; Royal assent, -449. 

To appoint a commission to ascertain losses .sustained by in- 
dividuals, <xc, during the rebellion; reported by committee, 
(1837-8) 120. committed 136; not reported. 

To appoint a commission, &c, ( 1837-8) 308. Not reported. 

To appoint a commission. &c, (1837-8) 400; returned from 
Council with amendments. 426; agreed to, 427. Royal assent, 449. 

To indemnify for losses, to provide for speedy payment of 
claim>. &c. (1839) 194. Not proceeded in. 

To pay sundry claims; ordered, (1839) 246; presented, 265. 
Royal assent, 388. 

Granting £40,000, to indemnify sufferers by the late rebellion, 
to pay claims, etc.; ordered (1839) 295; presented. 308. Motion 
to re-commit, to reduce amt.. negatived; amended. 319; passed, 
320. Returned from Council with amendments, 331. Not con- 
sidered. New bill, ^,3,7 ; passed. 338. Address to Her Majesty, to 
accompany bill, presented. 364. Address to His Excellency to 
transmit same; ordered, 365. Answer, 384. Bill reserved. 390. 

Granting £50.000, to indemnify. &c. (1839-40) 213; presented, 
217. Committed and amended. 2^2: reserved. 384. 

To disqualify persons concerned with the rebellion, (1839-40) 
27; motion to postpone 2d reading 3 months; House adjourns, 
ib. Motion carried, 28. 

Petition of \\ m. Hust for compensation for wound ( 1837-8) 
293. Resolution granting him £2^ for gallant conduct in capturing 
a band of rebels, ^7. Royal assent. J49. Another petition ( 1839) 
141. Referred to committee on rebellion losses, 176. No report. 

Proceedings against members charged with being concerned in 
the rebellion. < 1837-8) 106. 107. 108, 138. 139, 272. Sec also VV. L. 

Journal of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada. . . . Toronto. 
v. d. 

[1836:] Clergy Reserves, despatch on. Glenelg to Colborne, 
app. E, pp. 32-^- 

[1837:] Clergy Reserves, message from Assembly. 43; con- 
ference asked for, 48; acceded to, 50; reported, 51. 

[1838:] Address of the Legislative Council to Her Majesty 
on the State of the Province, p. 137: also app. CC. pp. 134-139. 

(Highly interesting document, signed by John B. Robinson. 
Speaker. Leg. Counc, 2^ Feb. 1838: "When these citizens of the 
United States speak of bringing to us the boon of Republican 
Institutions they seem to imagine that they will be regarded as 
offering to extend to the people of Upper Canada some newly- 
discovered blessing." etc. ) 

[1838:] Resolutions respecting Militia Service in the rebel- 
lion, 17; vote of thanks for services rendered by Col. MacNab 


and Capt. Drew. to:>; protests against adoption, 113; appoint- 
ment of committee of privilege, 126. 142, 143. 

[1839:] Clergy Reserves— Glenclg's despatches relative to en- 
dowment of rectories, app. 0, p. 37; address to the Queen relative 
to claims for losses "occasioned by an incursion of Brigands from 
the United States, " etc.. app. R. p. 50; address to the Lt. Guv. 
relative to the measures taken by Her Majesty's minister at 
Washington for preventing further outrages upon the inhabitants 
of this Province by citizens of the United States of America, app. 
S. p. 51 ; claim of Duncan McGregor, for loss of his steamboat 
Thames by the Brigands fat Windsor. Dec. 4, 1838], app. CC. pp. 
115-116 ; correspondence with Her Majesty's minister at Wash- 
ington, respecting the invasion o\ the Canada-., app. V, pp. 61-65; 
petitions en subject of Clergy Reserves, app. X; report of the 
select committee upon Durham's Report, app. GO, p. 119. 

[1840:] Rebellion claim- payment bill, pp. 113, 115, 117; 
passed. 123; reserved to learn the Queen's will, 189. 

Further entries in the Journals bearing on our subject may be 
consulted under Index reference- in the Journals, of Accounts 
and Paper-. Addresses. Committees. House, Incendiarism, Kidd 
(John). MacXab (Hon. A. N.), Members, Messages. Pensions, 
Petitions. Powell. (John) Sedition, Speeches, Supply. 

K . J. Plain reasons for loyalty, addressed to plain people. Co- 

bourg, U. C. R. D. Chatterton, printer, 183S. 
8vo. pp. 8. 

Kennedy. Howard Angus. The story of Canada. [Story ot the 
Empire series.] London, li. d. [1898]. 

I2U10. pp. 175. 

Chap. x. "The winning of Libert}'," and chap. xi. "The experi- 
ment of legislative union," cover briefly our subject. 

Keppel. W. C. See Viscount Bury. 

[King. John.] The Other Side of the "Story," being some reviews 
of Mr. J. C. Dent's first volume of " The Story of the Upper 
Canadian Rebellion." and the letters in the Mackenzie-Rolph con- 
troversy. Also, a critique, hitherto unpublished on "The New 
Story." [quotations. 13 I.} Toronto: James Murray & Co., Prin- 
ters. 26 and 2S Front Street West. 1886. 
8vo. pp. 150. 

The author, a lawyer, is a son-in-law of Mackenzie. He re- 
prints reviews of Dent's "Story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion'* 
from the Toronto Daily Mail of Nov. 19, 1885; from The Week. 
Nov. 19, 1885; and other sources. The greater part of the volume 
(pp. 49-146) gives the author's own assaults on Dent, and defense 
of Mackenzie. 

Kingsbury, Pent. (Jr.). The Canadian Movement. See [Heustis, 

(Capt.) D. D.j 
Kingsford, William (LL.D.. F.R.S.) The History of Canada. . . . 
Vol. ix, chaps. 7, 8; vol. x— Books 34. 35, 3^- 


Kikr.Y. William. Annals of Niagara. By William Kirby, F. R. S. C. 
[quot. _'/.] [Lundy's Lane Hist. Soc. Pub.] 1S96. 
8vo. pp. 269. 

Part of chap. 32. all of chap. 33 and part of chap. .-4 narrate 
the events of 1836-3S on the Niagara, though not altogether with 

Kirby, William. Sec The Servos Family. 

Kobersteix. Paul. Die ersten Dcutsch-Amerikanischen Miliz-Com- 
pagnien. Sec Dcutsch-Amerikanischc Gcschichtsblattcr, Chicago, 
July, 1002. 

A sketch of the first German-American militia company, which 
was organized in Buffalo in 1838 under the name of the bteub^n 
Guards, to assist in preserving order, or in defense if occasion 
arose. Substantially the same data that are given in the following: 

Korersteix. Paul (author in part; and ed.) Geschichte der 
Deutschen in Buffalo und Erie County, N. V. . . . Buffalo . . . 

Album fol, pp. 337 [140]. 111. 

German and English text. Pp. 57-62. "German Military Com- 
pany." is a history of the first military organization of German 
citizens, the Steuben Guards, brought into existence in Jan. 183S. 
by the Caroline affair. "The fir>t political announcement of the 
Germans in Buffalo took place on the 23d of December. 1837, 
when jco had warned their fellow-citizens by a proclamation not 
to take part in the illegal movements against Canada." English 
and Canadian writers then — and since— have been accustomed to 
accuse the Americans, especially Buffalonians, with sympathy with 
the rebels; but have, as a rule, failed to note that the better class 
of citizens here were not only not in sympathy with the move- 
ment, but were prompt in organizing against it. The Steuben 
Guard, the militia organization of Buffalo Germans brought into 
existence at this time, was maintained for some years, and was 
the original organization of several which in 1S48 became the 
65th Regiment. National Guard of the State of New York. Mr. 
Kcberstein gives also a brief sketch of the Caroline affair. 

Laboucrere, Hexry (Baron Taunton). Reply to O'Connell's in- 
quiry of same date, saying that to that time only 16 insurrection- 
ists had been hanged in Canada. In House of Commons, Feb. 2j, 
1839. (Hansard, 3d ser., vol. 45, p. 930...) 

Lahoithfre. H.EXRY. Reply to Hume's motion for all the Head 
correspondence, proposing amendment that only extracts and 
copies be furnished. [Amendment accepted and agreed to.] 
March 5. 1839. ( Hansard. 3d ser.. vol. 45. p. 1314. ) 

LabouChere. Hexry. Reply to O'Connell's inquiry of <ame date, 
saying that the Government in it^ dispatches to the Governors in 
Canada had instructed them to hang as few persons as possible. 
March 14. 1830. ( Hansard, 3d ser., vol. 46, p. 627.) 

Larouchere. Hexry. Reply to O'Connell's inquiry nt " same date. 


saying that dispatches received from the Governors in Canada 
.stated that it would not be necessary to hang any more. March 
21, [839. (Hansard. 3d ser.. vol. 40. p. 104S. ) 

Laboichere, Henry. Reply to Hume's inquiry of same date, saying 
that Prince had been" called on for an explanation, which, when 
given, proved to he unsatisfactory, and a court had been ordered. 
March 27. 1839. (Hansard, 3d ser., vol. 46, p. 1222. ) 

Lambton, John George. Sec the Earl of Durham. 

Lakned. J. X. (compiler). History for ready reference. From the 
best historians, biographers and specialists. Their own words in 
a complete system. ... 16 vols. J Springfield, Mass. . . . 1894, 

Vol. i, articl